(and a flock of others) wrote with this news: "According to this article, AltaVista is ceasing to provide e-mail (stranding a million users who use the service). So what does it say that a company the size of AltaVista calls it quits with a service like e-mail?"
One thing is sure: old e-mail addresses, like old physical addresses, are a pain to reconcile with everyone who wants to send you (flowers / letters / bills). Update 0819 US EST by Roblimo:
As a number of readers have pointed out, Altavista is terminating its free (ad-supported) ISP service, not its email service. If you have an Altavista email account, relax. We regret the error.