Plug Pulled on Eudora
The Eudora e-mail software has been around nearly 20 years, long before the
Internet became a household word. Now, with its glory days behind, its owner
is calling it quits.
Qualcomm Inc., the company best known as a pioneer of the CDMA technology that
powers many of the world's mobile phones, says the latest Eudora release will
be its last commercial version, available at a cut-rate price of $19.95 with
six months technical support.
Beginning next year, Eudora will evolve and incorporate code from Thunderbird,
the free, open-source e-mail program from Mozilla Corp. New versions will be
based entirely on Thunderbird code, and the software will be given away free.
Steve Dorner created the application in 1988 when he was a computer programmer
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and named it for writer Eudora
Welty. San Diego-based Qualcomm bought Eudora in 1991, hired Dorner and made
Eudora work on computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows as well as the original
platform, Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS computers.
A host of other e-mail programs, including Outlook and Outlook Express from
Microsoft, eclipsed Eudora long ago.
Richi Jennings, an analyst at San Francisco-based Ferris Research, says Eudora
peaked in the early to mid-1990s. Today's following, he said, is "small
and pretty hard core."
Jeremy James, a Qualcomm spokesman, said e-mail doesn't work as a stand-alone
business. Companies like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. offer free e-mail to keep
people on their Web sites. Microsoft and IBM Corp. use e-mail as a piece of
larger software packages.
Eudora, while profitable, hasn't been part of Qualcomm's "core" business
for at least seven years, James said.
"It's difficult to sell something that people can get free," he said.