Qualcomm to drop Eudora?

And Microsoft machinations could be behind it all

Updated Qualcomm looks set to sell or close its Eudora Internet software division, according to anonymous sources cited on US Web site MacOS Rumors and allegedly confirmed by sources at Apple and Qualcomm. However, Franklin Antonio, Qualcomm's CTO, denied the rumours. "Eudora division is not closing nor being sold. We are very proud of Eudora. It is an excellent ongoing business," he told The Register. The questions about Eudora's future ultimately follow Qualcomm's acquisition of utilities specialist Now Software back in November 1997. The company was bought to allow Qualcomm to integrate Now's eponymous contact manager and personal organiser software (it sold off Now's other utilities to Power On Software last year) into the Eudora line of email software. The acquisition, the oh-so-slow development of Eudora Planner (as Now's PIM has now become), falling sales of Eudora Pro (Eudora Lite has always been available free of charge) in the face of solid email applications being bundled with the leading Web browsers, and its advertising-funded email-for-life service less popular than those offered by top-ranking portals like NetCenter and Excite, has hit the division's finances hard. Meanwhile, it is being claimed that Microsoft, now a partner with Qualcomm thanks to the latter's decision to use Windows CE instead of Palm OS for a forthcoming Internet-enabled cellphone, has been pressuring the telecoms company to drop Eudora too. Certainly Eudora Lite is one of the biggest obstacles to Microsoft Outlook Express' domination of the email software market (such as it is). The sources claim no final decision has been made on the Eudora division's future, but Qualcomm -- better known as a telecoms infrastructure company; the fit with Eudora was always a puzzling one -- does appear to be looking either at a sale -- in fact, it may have been touting the business to possible buyers for some time -- or simply shutting the division down. ®

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