Alto is AOL's new mail venture, in which the company gives up on getting people to have AOL.com e-mail addresses. "We found that nobody wants another email address," Senior Director of Product for AOL Mail and Alto Joshua Ramirez told The Verge's Ellis Hamburger. So AOL is heretofore giving up on its You've Got Mail brand, which, frankly, is a smart move. No one is looking to change their email address to anything new. AOL has such a teeny-tiny user-base (and shrinking!) when compared to the others, according to these 2011 Comscore stats.
Still, AOL is losing at something which is still the most popular activity to do on the Internet. Instead of revamping something that will never be popular—the social cachet alone of having an AOL.com email address will keep that dream dead—it is moving into a new space: E-mail clients. "People have multiple email addresses, and they want to get it in one spot, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with something we think is game-changing." This game changer, much like Sparrow or Apple Mail, "fixes" e-mail which many people have declared broken.
While many people yearn for a better email client, no one has owned the space yet. This is what the current marketshare looks like, according to Litmus: Outlook, the iPhone app and Yahoo Mail still rule.