New Microsoft Mail version 3.0 combines powerful user features with robust architecture

Business Wire

January 14, 1991

REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft Corp. Monday announced Microsoft Mail version 3.0 for AppleTalk networks, a new version of the full-featured electronic mail system that provides enterprise-wide connectivity across networks of any size with superior performance and reliability.

Microsoft Mail version 3.0 offers a complete set of powerful new features for users along with performance enhancements that increase network speed and flexibility.

``With Microsoft Mail version 3.0 we continue to deliver on the promise of workgroup applications,'' said Mike Maples, vice president of applications at Microsoft Corp. ``We've started by building robust electronic mail, the foundation for workgroup computing, and will continue to expand and improve our workgroup tools over time.''

New User Features for Flexible Communication

The primary development goal for Microsoft Mail version 3.0 was to add the features most requested by end users. These features have been implemented to take advantage of the innovative MS Mail architecture, resulting in an electronic mail product that offers extremely powerful capabilities.

Multiple file attachments, for example, allow users to send files through Microsoft Mail by attaching them to a mail message. The number of file attachments on each message is unlimited. However, the network administrator can set a limit in order to protect the performance of the network based on its specific characteristics. This configurable limit is based on the total size of the files being sent, rather than on an arbitrary limit on the number of files attached. Personal address books and the ability to create personal groups are two other features that have been added to Microsoft Mail version 3.0.

Personal address books allow users to set up and access a list of the people with whom they communicate most often. Personal groups are customized distribution lists created and used by a single user. Both personal address books and personal groups are automatically updated, so individual users do not need to worry about updating their lists when users are removed from the network.

A variety of other features have been added to Microsoft Mail version 3.0 to make it simple and efficient for end users to communicate with their workgroups:

o Custom message folders can be created for organizing mail messages. Messages can be stored by dragging and dropping them into the desired folder. A wastebasket folder holds deleted messages until the user signs out, and a sent mail folder is available to keep a copy of every message sent.

o An appended save feature makes it possible to archive multiple messages as one text file and to continue adding messages as needed.

o Messages in the summary window can be sorted by time, sender or subject with a simple click of the mouse. Each mail folder supports a unique sort order in its message summary window.

o The dial-in utility lets users access all messages, even those stored in folders, from a remote location using any VT 100 or terminal emulation program.

o Improved keyboard accelerators make it easy for power users to perform all mail functions directly from the keyboard.

Performance Enhancements for Even Greater Speed

While Microsoft Mail is already considered to be a leader in Macintosh electronic mail performance, several new features have been added to MS Mail version 3.0 to increase overall network performance. For example, client caching has been added to maximize the benefits of client-server architecture while reducing overall network traffic. A copy of each screen is saved to the system folder on the user's workstation to increase speed.

Push notification has also been implemented, whereby the server notifies the client when there is a message, rather than having the client query the server at predefined times. This also decreases network traffic, increasing performance.

Many other improvements have been made to increase overall network performance, security and reliability:

o Multi-hop routing allows servers to be defined as bridges to other servers, providing complete flexibility to network administrators for defining message routing across complex networks.

o Optional directory propagation allows administrators to limit access to directories across different sites if routing is being used.

o Single copy store has been enhanced to include messages stored in folders (only one copy of the file is stored on the server regardless of how many clients have saved it to folders) and single copy transfer has been added to work even through complex routings. Only a single copy of the message is transferred between servers, even if it is destined for several users on different servers.

o Expanded administrative tools have been provided to network administrators, including automatic backup of the mail database, deletion of aged messages and global and local server statistics.

Integration and Development Tools

Microsoft Mail version 3.0 features enhanced integration with Microsoft Excel version 3.0 for the Macintosh, the recently announced update of the world's most popular graphical spreadsheet. Microsoft Excel version 3.0 users can now send and receive multiple Microsoft Excel files through Microsoft Mail version 3.0 directly from within Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Mail version 3.0 is also integrated with other popular applications, including Microsoft Word version 4.0 and Aldus PageMaker version 4.0.

A range of development tools is available to provide third-party vendors direct access to the Microsoft Mail system. These tools include the Microsoft Mail Software Development Kit for HyperCard (which is included with the Microsoft Mail version 3.0 Server Pack), the Microsoft Mail Software Development Kit for MPW C, the Microsoft Excel Function Library for Microsoft Mail (contact Microsoft for additional information) and the 4th Dimension Software Development Kit for Microsoft Mail (contact ACIUS/ACI for additional information).

Several third-party gateways are also available to provide connectivity to the most popular mail systems. The well-documented APIs (application programming interfaces) included with the Microsoft Mail version 3.0 Gateway Development Kit allow tight integration between the external system and Microsoft Mail (contact Microsoft for more information).

Pricing, Availability and System Requirements

Microsoft Mail version 3.0 is expected to be available in the first quarter of 1991. The SRP (suggested retail price) for the Microsoft Mail Server is $395. Macintosh workstation versions are available in 5-Packs for an SRP of $395 and 20-Packs (Microsoft License Paks) for an SRP of $1,349. PC workstation versions are available in 5-Packs for an SRP of $395. Microsoft Mail users can upgrade to the version 3.0 Server Pack for $75 and the version 3.0 Mac or PC Workstation Pack for $12.50 (plus shipping and handling). The system requirements for Microsoft Mail Macintosh servers and workstations are a Macintosh Plus, Classic, SE, LC, II or Portable using System version 6.0.2 or higher and an AppleTalk, EtherTalk or compatible local area network. In addition, the server requires a Macintosh-compatible SCSI or serial hard disk that boots the System File at startup.

The system requirement for PC workstations is a PC with 512K of memory running the MS-DOS or PC-DOS operating system version 2.0 or higher. All machines must have a network card that supports AppleTalk protocols. A hard disk is recommended; use of the Microsoft Mouse is optional.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) develops, markets and supports a wide range of software for business and professional use, including operating systems, network products, languages and application programs, as well as books, hardware and CD-ROM products for the microcomputer marketplace.


-- Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, MS and MS-DOS are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

-- 4th Dimension is a registered trademark of ACIUS/ACI.

-- Aldus and PageMaker are registered trademarks of Aldus Corp.

-- AppleTalk, EtherTalk, HyperCard, Mac, Macintosh and MPW are registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc.

-- VT 100 is a trademark of Digital Equipment Corp.

CONTACT: Microsoft Corp., Redmond Lisa Wilson or Sarah Charf, 206/882-8080 For General Sales and Product Information, 800/426-9400 or Waggener Edstrom, Bellevue, Wash. Connie Ballmer or Lora Loftis, 206/637-9097

Copyright (c) 1991, Business Wire