RealTime IT News

Qualcomm Frees Eudora

Qualcomm Inc. Thursday announced it will release a free full-featured version of its Eudora e-mail program, with sponsors picking up the tab.

Although smaller software companies have sought to sell advertising space on applications, the move is significant because Eudora is one of the most popular e-mail clients in use, and e-mail is the activity on which Internet users spend a great deal of their time. Qualcomm (QCOM) said most Eudora users spend 30 minutes a day or more using the program.

The company is touting the sponsored space on the Eudora program as premium property, saying that advertisers have users all to themselves when their ad is running on the program. Qualcomm also says the software "knows" when a person is actively using Eudora, and it displays (and tracks) ads only during that time.

"Qualcomm has an heretical notion: Offer advertisers the opportunity to address Eudora users in a 'quiet room' -- where overly intrusive animation and sound would detract from the user's experience and the advertiser's results -- and give millions of email users the additional option of using the world's most powerful e-mail management software for free," said Jeffrey Belk, vice president of Qualcomm and general manager of Qualcomm's Eudora Products.

The new sponsored software version will replace the company's Eudora Light freeware product, which is being used by 16 million people, according to Qualcomm. The company says it's reducing costs because it no longer has to develop the Light product.

Qualcomm is conducting a limited beta release to 250,000 users, and plans a full commercial release in the first quarter of next year. By late spring of next year, based on past Eudora upgrade patterns, the company expects to have several million users and to be serving billions of impressions.