Updated Eudora Blocks Unwanted E-Mail

Along with the spam-blocking capability, Version 6.0 of Qualcomm's e-mail software includes a feature that helps sift through long e-mail threads.

Qualcomm Inc. Thursday released the latest version of its Eudora e-mail software with a focus on stopping unwanted e-mail and simplifying long e-mail threads.

With Eudora 6.0, Qualcomm is beginning a more aggressive push in updating the Eudora product line and pitting it as an alternative to Microsoft Corp., which dominates the e-mail space with its Outlook client and Exchange server.

Eudora is considering a possible Linux version of its client, which currently supports Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS 9 and OS X, said Bill Ganon, Eudora vice president at the San Diego-based vendor. On tap for the new year is an update to Qualcomms WorldMail server with a 3.0 release in January, he said. The current 2.0 server version is about five years old.

"Eudoras been around for a long time," Ganon said. "We have a huge user base, not an Outlook-size user base, but after Outlook and [Lotus] Notes comes Eudora. We really did need to get very world-class about what were doing with features, and weve at least taken a good first step."

Eudora 6.0 comes either as a paid software license or as free software that includes advertising. The paid version includes a feature called SpamWatch, a set of tools for filtering out unwanted e-mail and that includes two plug-ins. One ties into spam e-mail scoring services that IT departments or ISPs are already running. Eudora can read the e-mail header scores to determine which e-mails should be routed to a junk mailbox, Ganon said.

The other plug-in uses Bayesian principles to identify common words and phrases used in unsolicited e-mails to determine which ones are spam. It provides a basic spam filtering capability for users such as small businesses without more advanced spam filtering services, Ganon said.

Eudoras push to block spam is an important step because users are demanding tools to fight unwanted e-mail, said messaging analyst David Ferris, president of San Francisco-based Ferris Research.

"Spam blocker is very, very important for users, so [Eudora] needs to ensure it can provide this service," he wrote in an e-mail interview.

Still, the new spam features alone arent enough for Eudora to take on heavyweights Microsoft and Lotus in the e-mail space, Ferris said. Eudoras penetration in the business space remains below a half percent and is only near about 1 percent in the consumer space, he said.

Nonetheless, Qualcomm sees an opportunity for Eudora to build on its user base by adding new features into the client. Ganon said he expects additional updates to 6.0 in coming months, including the addition of support for the iCal calendar-sharing standard by the beginning of next year. Such support would allow Eudora, which does include a calendar feature, to accept iCal attachments from other scheduling programs.

Along with the spam-blocking feature, Eudora 6.0 includes a feature called Content Concentrator that helps sift through long e-mail threads. It provides three levels of concentrated views of threads by highlighting the main message over the various quotes, signature and forwards.

The paid version of Eudora 6.0 costs $49 for a new license, is $39 for existing paid users and is free for users who bought a paid version in the past 12 months.