I just read “The Google of Email?” in the March issue of Fast Company. In this article, Alison Overholt examines flaws in Microsoft Outlook and looks for a competing e-mail client to take its place. The good alternative client, she concludes, is Bloomba. The folks at Bloomba must’ve paid her for this blatant attempt at publicity; she doesn’t review any other competitors. The major reason she recommends Bloomba is for its search features. The “powerful [search] feature makes folders largely unnecessary,” says Overholt.
Bloomba has several major drawbacks, however, as she mentions in her article. These are: the inability to use IMAP (Bloomba is POP3-only), the lack of a calendar/task feature, and a $49.95 price tag. Each of these features and more (excluding the hefty price tag) may be found in Mozilla Thunderbird, a free client that she failed to mention.
I can’t imagine why she overlooked Mozilla Thunderbird. It used to be Netscape, so it’s not entirely new or foreign. Plus, it’s open-source and free and offers many extensions (with more on the way) that by far overshadow the features in Outlook and Bloomba. Thunderbird allows connections to IMAP servers. Thunderbird has a good search feature. There are excellent junk mail filters. If a calendar is what you want, then there’s an extension for Thunderbird that provides calendar and task-list functionality. In fact, since the application is open-source, there are many more extensions to choose from with more on the way (due to the fact that there is a community of developers creating them).
Clearly, the better alternative to the bug-ridden and cumbersome Microsoft Outlook is Mozilla Thunderbird. Perhaps only in time will others begin to see this.