Popular Sendmail Gains POP, IMAP Support

Sendmail and MessagingDirect today announced an arrangement in which the Sendmail software will now support two key e-mail standards -- POP and IMAP.

Sendmail's commercial version of the popular open source software, of the same name, routes e-mail messages from one network to another. MessagingDirect sells complementary software that stores e-mail messages on a local server and supports common e-mail standards so users can access messages through a variety of desktop e-mail packages. Under the terms of the agreement, Sendmail will embed the so-called message store and message access modules from MessagingDirect into the company's Sendmail Pro message transfer agent. The combined product will be targeted at corporate customers and ISPs.

Of particular interest to Sendmail is MessagingDirect's support of Post Office Protocol, a basic messaging protocol used by ISPs, and Internet Message Access Protocol, which is preferred by corporate customers because of its support for centralized directories and other advanced services.

"I think this [announcement] is very significant,'' says Paul Hoffman, director of the Internet Mail Consortium. "Sendmail is such an important player in this marketplace. The fact that it will have IMAP support is very, very important.'' Hoffman said that although MessagingDirect is not a large company, its IMAP solution is very strong. "Their client and server have been very well tested.''"The MessagingDirect message store and message access components are proven to have the same high reliability and quality as Sendmail, and they come from folks that are providing the leadership in the standards bodies,'' says Sendmail's President Greg Olson.

Sendmail's main competitor in Internet e-mail is the Sun-Netscape Alliance, which is merging competing products from Netscape (now owned by America Online) and Sun. Olson says this is causing "lots of uncertainty'' for corporate buyers, which he sees as an advantage for Sendmail now that it can offer a complete messaging solution. The integrated Sendmail/MessagingDirect product will be available early next year, Olson says. In the meantime, customers can buy both offerings direct from Sendmail or through its OEMs.

Sendmail is the most popular message transfer agent software for Internet e-mail and runs on more than 2.5 million servers worldwide. Sendmail was formed last year by the author of the original public domain software to provide souped-up versions with added administration and management tools to commercial customers. So far, the company claims it has attracted 1,200 corporate customers for its Sendmail Pro and Sendmail for NT products. MessagingDirect has installed its message store and access modules at more than 450 sites that support 10 million mailboxes. Among the organizations already using the Sendmail and MessagingDirect products together are Notre Dame University, the state of Ohio and the Huntsville Hospital Network.

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