E-mail continues explosive growth

The number of electronic mailboxes in use globally has ballooned to more than 891 million, and for the first time in history more of them are outside the US than inside it, according to a recent study.

The number of e-mailboxes exploded last year, rising 67 percent from the 533 million in use at the end of 1999, according to the "Year-End 2000 Mailbox Report" put out annually by Messaging Online news editor Eric Arnum.

The growth was fueled by a European rush to establish ISP accounts, an explosion of Web mail in Asia and the popularity in Japan of e-mail access from i-mode and J-Phone devices.

In fact, wireless devices overall contributed significantly to the growth in e-mail with the number of devices soaring from 3.7 million to 31.8 million, the report shows. Wireless messaging was the fastest growing e-mail sector in 2000.

"Outside the US, e-mail is going mad," Arnum says. The report shows 51 percent of mailboxes are now in use outside the US In contrast, 85 percent of all e-mailboxes were within the US just 10 years ago.

"Taiwan went from zero to four million users in 2000. Brazil went from one million to seven million," Arnum says. He also notes that India had four million new mailboxes and China had 11.5 million.

In the US, "virtually everyone who wants e-mail has it," Arnum says.

The report also noted the race for corporate e-mail users between Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes and Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange is as hot as ever. At the end of 2000, Lotus lead with 78 million seats, to Exchange's 67.2 million. But for the year, Exchange added 23 million seats to 22.7 million for Lotus. Both vendors turned in personal bests in sales for the fourth quarter of 2000: Lotus at 10 million and Exchange at 6.7 million.

The entire corporate mail sector grew by 34 percent, with gains in client/server and corporate Simple Mail Transer Protocol server sales offsetting declines in legacy hosts and LAN mail.

Ironically, despite the explosion in e-mail growth, Arnum was forced to shut down his popular Messaging Online newsletter late last month due to a lack of funding. And earlier this year, the Electronic Messaging Association, teetering on the brink of financial collapse, was folded into The Open Group, a consortium that brings together buyers and suppliers of information technology.

Arnum's full report can be found at http://www.messagingonline.com/mt/html/feature2000.html

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