Xobni CEO talks about CIOs, Gmail and 'Getting Things Done'

It's releasing an enterprise version of its Microsoft Outlook search app

Xobni Corp. is releasing an enterprise version of its Microsoft Outlook search app.

The new Xobni ('inbox' spelled backwards) Enterprise server software lets IT managers centrally deploy and manage the company's plug-in to employees' client PCs, Xobni CEO Jeff Bonforte said in an interview last week. During that interview, he also talked about why the San Francisco startup isn't afraid to buck Web 2.0 peer pressure and how it's catering to David Allen's influential time-management philosophy, Getting Things Done.

Xobni Enterprise is the second for-fee product from the San Francisco startup. In July, it released the $29.95 Xobni Plus, a premium version of its free Outlook plug-in. So far, there have been 3 million downloads of Xobni's free version; Bonforte expects that number to grow to 1 million downloads a quarter by 2010.

Reviewers such as Computerworld's Preston Gralla have raved about Xobni's fast, precise searches of Outlook e-mails and address books, searches that Bonforte claims actually get faster and more accurate as users' inboxes grow.

Xobni's mini-dashboard also offers Business Intelligence-style analytics of e-mail contacts, ranking them by importance based on the number of e-mails exchanged and how quickly a user sends and receives replies. It also creates profiles of contacts, updating contact information automatically by mining senders' e-mail signatures for new phone numbers, for instance.

"The average address book is 30% out of date. Xobni's is just 10%," Bonforte said.

Xobni has also formally teamed up with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, so it adds links to a user's contacts' profiles or messages from those networks. Some of these features are, or will only be, available in Xobni Plus, while others -- support for LDAP networking, IT policies and the ability to swap out Twitter links for Salesforce.com or other business-oriented custom ones -- are available in Xobni Enterprise.

"We are super-friendly with IT, and can abide by any general IT policy. Rules are rules," he said.

Xobni Enterprise starts at $30 per user per year for small companies, with volume discounts available.

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