I am retiring Outlook as my email client and moving entirely to GMail. I’ve used numerous clients over the years including Fidonet and the other BBS packages (my first email experiences), sendmail at the command line, emacs, cc:Mail, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird, Outlook Express, Outlook, and others I can’t remember. Outlook express isn’t bad if you are simply checking email. If you are doing scheduling, group collaboration, todo lists and the works, then you should be using Outlook (not Express). As much as it goes against my philosophy of "be in control of your content," I think that using an email client and downloading email to your desktop is old school. Collaboration is moving to portals such as BEA’s Plumtree and Microsoft’s SharePoint. Meetings are done online now with Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype (I am djuggler), Adobe’s ConnectNow, and even Microsoft’s instant messenger using ShareView. Communication is being accomplished through instant messengers and in some cases instant messengers are being replaced by services such as Twitter. Text messaging is frequently favored over a voice call as it reduces the urgency of the conversation and can provide additional benefit such as retention of information (if I give you a phone number via voice you have to memorize it or write it down..in a text message the number is stored). I can make argument that email is in its death bed. Much like snail mail and fax, it won’t go away completely but is bound to be ignored in favor of better technologies.
The way we communicate is changing rapidly. Video conferencing over mobile phones was promised by AT&T last fall in the Motorola RARZ v3xx and
looks to be delivered on July 11, 2008 with the new iPhones will come sooner than later. Collaborative tools are far more powerful than hording information on single machines. And using third party or server tools to store information makes the information portable and available to you from any computer and any location. A couple of decades ago Bill Gates said the personal computer would evolve into a terminal and all software and data would be managed on network connected servers. He was right.
ps. I didn’t forget IMAP but that’s for a different post.
Note: During my transition from Outlook to Gmail I may overlook some email. If you have emailed me and been ignored, please resend your message as I am having to adjust some email habits in light of the different way Gmail handles email.