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IBM joins race to upgrade webmail interface with Verse

Peter Sayer | April 6, 2015
IBM aims to eliminate clutter and understand the user's needs with its Verse web interface for email.

Links with external social networks are already a feature of Outlook Web App for Office365 subscribers, and Microsoft continues to develop a new offering, Delve, to enable content and contact discovery.

Google, meanwhile, is taking its own approach to decluttering with Inbox, an invitation-only front-end to Gmail that purports to surface the most important emails from a user's mailbox by grouping them into related "Bundles."

Whether their efforts will be sufficient to persuade organizations that email-centric systems are still the best way to communicate internally remains to be seen. Customers may be tempted by the siren call of unified communications vendors such as Unify, which combines video, voice calls, chat and email into a single conversation on its Circuit platform. Or they may turn to a new category of tool from startups such as Slack or Glip, which sell collaboration tools built around instant messaging.

When IBM launched the private beta test of Verse in mid-November, it said it would release the software in the first quarter, a deadline it has only narrowly missed.

The Web version of Verse is now available, with an iPhone app to follow later this month, an iPad app late next month, and an Android app in late June, said Souder. Organizations must put their mail on a Domino server to use Verse -- although IBM is offering to host basic mail and calendar functions on Domino for free, Souder said.


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