The Morphing of E-mail

Gary Anthes talked with longtime e-mail analyst Sara Radicati, president of The Radicati Group Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif. She says e-mail won't die; it will grow up.

Who's winning the war between e-mail users and the purveyors of spam, phishing scams and malware? I think we are winning a little bit. We are making some headway, and people have adjusted to it as a fact of life.

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Will individuals or companies give up on e-mail? We don't see that at all. It's like saying you won't have a phone at home because you get marketing calls.

Will unified messaging take off? It's the idea that you should have one mailbox where you consolidate your voice mail, e-mail, IM and everything else. Only a fraction of corporations have it at this point because it tends to have pretty high price points, and there are compatibility issues with existing systems. It can cost $300 to $400 per person, and that's a lot just so users don't have to go two places for their messages.

How about Web-based e-mail? We see it expanding dramatically. Most people have one or two Web mail accounts, for personal or business or both. We are seeing more corporations looking at those backup accounts to see if they can be legitimate, corporate-endorsed backup accounts. Some are even looking at these for primary accounts.

Doesn't that raise all kinds of security, privacy and control concerns? Those concerns are not necessarily well-founded. Some companies are just very conservative, and some are open-minded.

What other trends do you see? We expect to see much more integration between e-mail, IM and wireless communication. That's the next big wave over the next two to three years.

How about the client side? That's been pretty static for eight to 10 years. I'd expect to see e-mail clients that provide better search capabilities and better conversation-organizing capabilities that help us deal with the large amounts of e-mail on different subjects.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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