by Mark H. Anbinder -- TidBITS Contributing Editor
Information Electronics, the Hammondsport, NY developer best known until now for its QuickMail add-on products, announced last week that they will no longer offer their QuickMail gateways and enhancements. According to chairman Tom Clodfelter, "We no longer feel that QuickMail is the best solution for a corporate communication system." Instead, the company will now offer gateway and enhancement products for FirstClass, a graphical-interface bulletin board system (BBS) from SoftArc, Inc. that allows both network-based and dialup modem communications.
In a newsletter sent to IE customers, the company explained that QuickMail, the electronic mail product from CE Software, Inc., presents too many limitations. On 04-Jul-92, Information Electronics removed QMConcierge, QMSight, UMCPQM, and SMTPQM from the market. The two year old product line offered features not available elsewhere, such as message forwarding and distribution lists with QMConcierge, and connectivity to FreeSoft's Second Sight BBS software with QMSight. The UMCPQM and SMTPQM products, offering Unix and Internet connectivity via UUCP and SMTP had competition in the market.
The flagship of IE's new product line will be PostalUnion, offering FirstClass system administrators a combination of UUCP and SMTP connectivity, complete with full electronic mail and Usenet news service. The retail price for an unlimited-user-license package will be $1995, and until 31-Aug-92, IE is offering an exchange price to SMTPQM and UMCPQM customers of only $200, if the customers are also taking advantage of IE's QuickMail-for-FirstClass trade-in offer. (For information, contact Information Electronics as shown below.) In addition, IE will offer a $495 gateway to link FirstClass to Microsoft Mail via network or modem.
Asked about Information Electronics' departure, Sue Nail, a media representative at CE Software, said, "We're sorry to lose them as developers. Tom's a good programmer." CE informed many of its large-site customers last month that the Information Electronics products would no longer be available, and presented special offers for IE customers from vendors offering similar products. While CE would prefer to avoid the appearance of stepping on another company's toes, they explained that they wanted QuickMail customers to hear about alternatives that would allow them to stay with QuickMail if they wish, saying, "We want to take care of our customers in any way that we can."
Information Electronics now offers support for its products, both its new FirstClass add-ons and the previous QuickMail enhancements, via its new FirstClass bulletin board. The graphical BBS, which can be reached by modem at 607/868-3393, shows off the features of both the FirstClass software and the PostalUnion gateway, offering local and Internet discussions, Usenet newsgroups, product updates, and IE's online support forum. Although the BBS is intended for IE's customers, the company welcomes people who are interested in experiencing FirstClass to give it a try. Users should call with a modem supporting 1200-2400 bps or V.32 9600 bps, and press Return at both the userid and password prompts to create a new user account. They will then be able to download the Macintosh application that provides the graphical front end or proceed to use the BBS's VT100 terminal interface. Users may also take FirstClass and PostalUnion for a test drive at SoftArc's booth (#122) at the Mactivity conference in Santa Clara next week.
SoftArc plans to offer a Windows front end application in the near future, in addition to other enhancements that we will describe in depth in an upcoming issue of TidBITS.
Information Electronics -- 607/868-3331
SoftArc, Inc. -- 416/299-4723 -- 416/609-2250 BBS
Information Electronics -- firstname.lastname@example.org