building your own email system

Hi there team,

My freinds and I want to build an email system using delphi. It would be something similar to Microsoft Office.
We are trying to get some info on how to do this effectivly. We have spoken to someone who also is building one at the moment but he is having some difficulty.
He said that while he can send and receive email via some email servers, he is having difficulty in sending and receiving emails from some major servers like yahoo and hotmail. He is trying to use the IMAP protocol to do it.
FOr our email system we definatly want to be able to send emails to people with yahoo or hotmail accounts!
It seems that building your own email system is quite difficult.

Has anyone who has done this before got any ideas so that we can get started. Is using the IMAP protocol the way to do this or should we try another way?

Why is it so difficult to send and receive to yahoo and hotmail?

Where is the best place to start so that we can develop or program along the correct track?

Any help appreciatted
Kind Regards

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