Do Email Clients Matter Anymore?

A reviewer over at eWeek starts off a review of Thunderbird 2 by saying:

The new version of Thunderbird, the free, open-source mail client from the organization behind the Firefox Web browser, is a nicely polished application that makes it easy to sort, view and generally manage your daily e-mail load. But while Thunderbird 2 looks promising, it must face one important question: Do e-mail clients matter anymore?

To a certain degree, Mozilla's Thunderbird could be a victim of the success of its browser sibling. As next-generation browsers like Firefox have become better at supporting highly interactive GUIs for browser-based applications, managing e-mail strictly through a Web interface has become much less of a chore, and, for some people, has even replaced desktop mail clients as the first choice for dealing with e-mail. (Emphasis mine.)

An interesting take, to be sure. I wish the article would have dealt with this premise a bit more, but afterall, it was a product review. Nevertheless, if this is a true statement, or one that will become more true going forward, vendors like Sun who supply web-based email (or in our case, email, calendar, and address book) clients better be prepared to meet these expectations. And I believe that our NextGen client is going to do just that.

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