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Qualcomm is offering to upgrade the 16 million users of its Eudora Light email packages to a new, full-featured "Pro" version - in exchange for their agreeing to view a series of advertisements, and use the package in "sponsored mode." This is to be one of three options available to users of the new converged Eudora, which is due to be issued in Q1 next year. Previously Qualcomm made Eudora Light available via free download, and charged for the full-featured version, Eudora Pro. The new program will come in a single version that can be set to Light mode as the operational equivalent of the current Light, a paid for version which operates as the full product with no ads, and the sponsored version, which gives you full product with ads. Qualcomm's expectation no doubt is that the people currently using the free version will be willing to allow the software to "display one at a time a series of static onscreen advertisements that do not interfere with the user's email workspace." But just to be on the safe side, the free download installs in this mode, so users will have to put up with it, get around to downgrading to Light, or get around to paying up. As further encouragement it appears the Light mode will "include a sponsor image or logo, but no rotating advertising." The forthcoming Eudora program does at least have the virtue of giving the user a choice. But Microsoft, it would appear, has decided to go the whole way and demonstrate that there's no such thing as a free browser. Version 5.01 of Internet Explorer upgrades Outlook Express while it's about it, and if you use Outlook to access a Hotmail account an advertising pane appears at the bottom of the screen, and displays Hotmail advertising. There doesn't appear to be a supported method for turning this off. ®

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