IDC Examines the Future of Email As It Navigates Security Threats, Compliance Requirements, and Market Alternatives

FRAMINGHAM, MA – DECEMBER 22, 2005 – Although email remains the dominant form of electronic communication, it faces significant challenges from real-time communications, such as instant messaging, and from parasites, including viruses and spam, that threaten the health of the email host. In a newly published study, IDC predicts that nearly 84 billion emails, more than 33 billion of which will be spam messages, will be sent daily worldwide in 2006. For email to retain its status as the prevailing form of electronic communications, email solution providers and their customers must uphold the high value of email while reducing the associated costs and risks.

"Email has faced its challengers – viruses, spam, regulations – and emerged with its reputation bruised, but intact," said Mark Levitt, research vice president for IDC's Collaborative Computing service. "Except among teens and young adults and inside certain fast-paced work environments, email is staying ahead of instant messaging in terms of usage."

IDC estimates that the size of business email volumes sent annually worldwide will exceed 3.5 exabytes in 2006, more than doubling the amount over the past two years (Note: 1 exabyte = 1 thousand petabytes = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes).

IDC believes that the future status of email will depend on several factors, including:

— Preserving the value of email throughout its life cycle – from creation to permanent deletion – while reducing the associated costs and risks

— Minimizing the impact of real-time communications by providing low- or no-cost access to corporate and consumer email from a variety of devices

— Retaining a crucial role for email throughout the collaboration process

— Raising the visibility of email content so that it parallels that of other enterprise application data and business processes

IDC's seventh annual study, Worldwide Email Usage 2005-2009 Forecast: Email's Future Depends on Keeping Its Value High and Its Cost Low (IDC #34504) examines how email is, and will be, used for business and personal purposes. Insights on how email usage is changing based on a 10+ year perspective (1998-2009) is provided, including trends and analysis on topics ranging from emailboxes, users, primary access methods, free Webmail, size of business email volumes, and volumes of different types of email, including person-to-person emails, spam, and email alerts and notifications. Please note that this study focuses on overall email usage trends and does not provide information about individual email companies, products, or services.

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