I was looking for a technical comparison between Gmail and Live web mails, but the search algorithms have a tendency to throw up irrelevant results and I landed on a page that had this amusing discussion on how would Gmail look like, had it been a Microsoft product.
The writer started with a simple Gmail Inbox page and through a series of transformations, made it look like the current Hotmail Inbox page complete with Windows logo, a Hotmail style "reading pane" and banner ads.
Here is a link to the page : http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-11-20-n35.html
I am not the anti-Microsoft type, but this was too funny to be missed out. I love Gmail and in fact all of the Google products' UIs. The no nonsense looks and highly functional UIs are in a class of their own. Even the ads are blended well with the interface and does not stand out like in Hotmail. The speed is yet another thing that Gmail performs better at. Even in my 1.5Mb connection, I can feel the difference between a Hotmail page and a Gmail page.
I am sure that the guys at Microsoft are surely working on bettering their Hotmail UI. I would love to see a more responsive UI with less graphical ads for all my Windows Live Id email accounts. But at the end of the day, the party to benefit most from this Webmail war is the user group. For now, Gmail leads in almost all the measures, but I hope to see Hotmail come up with some cool interface sometime soon. So lets just keep the war going on as the ultimate winners in this battle is us.