by Mark H. Anbinder, Contributing Editor
When gateway vendor Information Electronics announced earlier this year that it was dropping QuickMail add-ons from its product line, the company said it might have one more QuickMail product up its sleeve. In a surprise move just over a week ago, IE unveiled a gateway from CE Software's QuickMail to SoftArc's popular FirstClass BBS and another gateway from QuickMail to Microsoft Mail, both of which will be given away free of charge.
The FirstClass-to-QuickMail gateway, called PostalUnion/QM, is intended primarily as a transition product for companies shifting from QuickMail to FirstClass, which also provides electronic mail and conferencing features. PostalUnion/QM is, however, a fully-functional bidirectional gateway which runs on the QuickMail server end and allows two-way exchange of mail and file enclosures. No separate software is required on the FirstClass side, as PostalUnion/QM takes advantage of the powerful gateway architecture of the FirstClass server. (The FirstClass server must have the gateway option installed.)
Similarly, the soon-to-be-released QuickMail to MS Mail gateway will provide a transition capability for those who plan to shift from QuickMail to Microsoft's LAN-based email product. Again, this gateway will be a fully-functional bidirectional gateway.
Both are free transition products, with no technical support available, from their release this quarter until 01-Feb-93 for the FirstClass gateway, and 01-Mar-93 for the MS Mail gateway. On those dates they will become commercial products for the benefit of those who don't want to switch from QuickMail to FirstClass or Microsoft Mail, but want to be able to communicate among the platforms on a permanent basis. The $495 annual licensing fee will include use of either gateway for an unlimited number of users, as well as access to IE's full suite of technical support services, which in our experience have proved thorough and helpful.
Asked about the unusual licensing arrangement, Information Electronics president Megan Clodfelter said that they want to provide the product free of charge to companies who are switching to FirstClass, as IE has, or to Microsoft Mail, but she explained the high long-term price of the gateway by saying that they "have to charge quite a bit for the gateway simply because the burden of QuickMail support is so extraordinarily high." The company's experience has always been that their QuickMail products generate a tremendous amount of technical support time because of the difficulties users have with QuickMail. As a result, IE has stressed that they cannot promise to keep up with any changes CE Software might make to QuickMail that do not follow its gateway guidelines.
The free gateway software will be available for downloading only from the company's own FirstClass system, which can be reached by modem at 607/868-3393. The FirstClass gateway is available now, and the MS Mail gateway should be there by 15-Dec-92. After the cutoff dates mentioned above, the free gateways will no longer work, though customers can arrange an annual license if they wish to continue using the software.
Information Electronics -- 607/868-3331 -- 607/868-3333 (fax)
SoftArc Inc. -- 416/299-4723 -- 416/754-1856 (fax)
CE Software -- 515/224-1995
Megan M. Clodfelter -- firstname.lastname@example.org