New MAPI Thread
Question asked by Tim Uzzanti - April 16 at 3:10 AM
Answered
Employee Post
All,

I had to delete the previous MAPI thread due to Anne Campbell.  The thread had a couple instances where customers thought it would be a good idea to complain about unrelated issues or attack the company.  Anne Campbell did this because it was a popular thread and thought they could get more attention on other concerns.  Unfortunately, this just destroys the thread and we lose important information.

Although this is a community for customers to interact with each other and help each other solve problems,  we often participate which encourages customers to post complaints.

I will post a quick summary of the previous MAPI thread and where we are at very shortly.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com

47 Replies

Reply to Thread
1
Richard Frank Replied
well... hope just you get Mapi integrated asap
I was thinking .. why is this now a thing for me.
Well, I have customers who had MS SBS until very recently. to have Exchange on premiss was too expensive. Mostly for companies with less than 10 employers.
So I offered them accounts on Smartermail but it lacks functionality they were used to (not working in the web interface)
So they are using IMAP now, but when multiple people are working in the same mailbox they encounter some issues. So I said promised them MAPI will be available soon and that made them willing to wait.
I do have a customer saying, it has to be fixed soon or I am gone. They are not willing to wait much longer.
And that is why, at least for me, it's becoming an issue now.
EXCHANGE is gone for them, IMAP doesn't suffice, so now we really need/want mapi integration.
So I hope you understand it's not my impatience but that of my customers.

7
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
As many of you know, we had targeted April release which was difficult for me to do because much what we are doing is based on the speed in which Microsoft works with us.
 
As it is, we have been working with a variety of teams at Microsoft which include the Interop, Outlook and Exchange Teams.  We are communicating with these teams everyday and sometimes multiple times per day!
 
MAPI is an extremely complicated protocol and there are only a handful of people at Microsoft familiar with it. Because we are essentially the only company to implement native MAPI in a mail server, other than Exchange, this has been a unique experience for Microsoft.
 
Throughout this process we have found Microsoft documentation to be wrong which has required Microsoft developers from each of these teams to get involved.  We have also found significant amounts of protocol information missing which has required us to reverse engineer the protocol by monitoring and reviewing network traffic, packet by packet, when connecting to Exchange.  We have also found problems with their unit testing.  Everything we find we provide to Microsoft and they update for future reference.
 
In the previous thread I also mentioned we were having recurring Outlook crashes.  Only Microsoft can diagnose why Outlook crashes using their internal tools and we need to wait for them to do these tasks which has caused significant delays.  Often these issues are because we followed the protocol documentation and it wasn't accurate.
 
As you can see, I'm putting a bit of the blame on Microsoft but rightfully so.  The speed of this project is completely based on our interactions with Microsoft.
 
I'm not trying to throw Microsoft under the bus because 95% of the documentation is accurate and the Unit tests they provide to help in the development process are a life saver.  But, 5% of the documentation being incorrect or not complete makes things incredibly difficult because its a back and forth game with Microsoft to figure out what is wrong.
 
While we continue to work through these issues, we are implementing even more advanced functionality that MAPI supports, which requires backend changes.
 
For example, MAPI has the ability to dynamically create properties on ANY object (Contact, Tasks, Notes, Email etc.).  These properties can be absolutely anything and one of the properties can be an attachment.  MAPI allows 2GB attachments on ANYTHING!  SmarterMail did not have this functionality before because it wasn't necessary for any of the protocols we have supported.  So, we are implementing this which will be new files at the folder level and will be similar to grp files.
 
As I mentioned in the previous thread, if some of the issues we were working with Microsoft on were easily solved, we could have made April still.  Unfortunately, Microsoft has been struggling to diagnose certain scenarios.
 
But instead of just sitting around while we go back and forth with Microsoft, we're implementing more and more of the protocol for initial release.
 
We know how much customers want MAPI!
 
So imagine how much we want MAPI.  We will be the only mail server other than Exchange to offer native MAPI.  We have huge companies looking to move from other Mail Servers just waiting for our MAPI implementation.
 
In the previous thread there were also conversions about Outlook versions and a debate about supporting Outlook 2007.  As many of you mentioned to the person who posted, Outlook 2007 will be going EOL soon.  From our experience, there are a number of differences with Outlook 2007 compared to 2013 and above.  Based on the EOL and based on the number of differences and overall objective of supporting the latest variations of the MAPI protocol… we will not be supporting Outlook 2007.
 
Based on the progress with Microsoft over the last 20 days we are a month or two away from getting MAPI out the door.  Previously I had said there would be no BETA, but we will now be doing a BETA for select customers.  If you are interested in the BETA, please email sales@smartertools.com so we can put you on the list.
 
The reason for the BETA is because we are now implementing new files to manage data for MAPI.  Prior, we were able to utilize most of the new backend we implemented in the latest versions of SmarterMail but now there will be significant data being written in new files that does need to sync with other files, etc.  It's gotten a little more complicated from a backend standpoint.
 
And as mentioned in the previous posts, most of what MAPI has to offer will be implemented.  The experience will be very similar to Microfsoft Exchange.  This isn’t some small subset of features but a thorough implementation.
 
Hopefully I hit most of what was in that other thread.
 
I’m hoping we can control this thread moving forward so we don’t lose important information.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Richard,

I'm assuming you have an EAS license for customers to use on mobile devices?  I would encourage your customers to use EAS with Outlook for Windows until MAPI is complete.  This gives them about 75% of the MAPI experience.  

Something I neglected to include in my recent post which was discussed in the other MAPI thread is how a few people at Microsoft helped us work around some bugs in the Microsoft Outlook for Windows EAS implementation.  As we mentioned before, Microsoft has discontinued fixes for EAS in Outlook and wants everyone to use MAPI moving forward.

The people we worked with at Microsoft were sympathetic to the discontinuation of the protocol support in Outlook and the difficulties we were facing implementing MAPI.  Their help was very much appreciated and it has made for a nice experience using Microsoft Outlook via EAS.

Also, EWS is the protocol Microsoft has chosen to support with Outlook for Mac.  EWS is how Outlook for Mac connects to Exchange so the experience is nearly identical with SmarterMail as would be with Exchange.  I would add this add-on if you don't already have it.


Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Shaun Peet Replied
To help with our future planning, has there been any updates to how MAPI will be licensed as an add-on (per mailbox vs per server) and roughly how much it will cost?
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Shaun, 

It will be priced similar to EWS which is by sever not mailbox.

EAS is by mailbox because that is how Microsoft requires it.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Shaun Peet Replied
Thanks for confirming Tim.  I'll send a note to your sales people letting them know that we'd be interested in helping with the BETA if they need a medium-sized environment to play around with.
0
echoDreamz Replied
We requested as well.

Christopher

0
Michael Breines Replied
So June seems to be the new target production release it seems?
5
Andrea Rogers Replied
Employee Post
I went ahead and deleted Chuck's reply, as his suggested release dates were NOT accurate nor did they come from our team. Updates regarding MAPI's release will be provided by SmarterTools employees, denoted by the blue 'Employee Post' tag. While I don't have a target release date to provide at this time, we are gathering a list of those who would like to participate in the BETA when the time comes. Please message our sales team (sales@smartertools. com) if you would like to be included in that testing. 

Thank you,

Andrea Rogers
Customer Operations Manager
SmarterTools Inc.
877-357-6278

www.smartertools.com

0
Richard Frank Replied
@Tim,
Thanks for the tip to use EAS now it's improved. 
changed the accounts from imap to EAS now and even with these big boxes (8GB each) it seems to work fairly good.
Regards,
Richard
15
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post

All, 

We are excited to announce that we have overcome most of the roadblocks related to MAPI and can now provide more information on release and BETA timelines.    

We have very few issues that are waiting on replies from Microsoft, and most of those are minor. As I've mentioned, working with Microsoft on issues can be pretty time consuming. As such, it was hard for us to give time frames because sometimes Microsoft is quick with replies, and the subsequent resolutions are also quick, but sometimes it can take weeks to get things resolved. 

Besides the things we were working with Microsoft on, a major roadblock was Dynamic Properties which could be associated to absolutely ANY object (Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Emails, etc.) Because Exchange uses a database back-end, it was easy for Microsoft to implement these properties. However, using a database is also why Exchange is bloated and requires 10x the hardware, infrastructure and software to accomplish what SmarterMail does. 

Over the last month, we have been working on building methods to handle these Dynamic Properties that take very little disk i/o and optimize disk space.  We have completed these tasks and what we’ve implemented for MAPI is working well. 

What we are primarily focusing on now and until the BETA release is incorporating all the changes we have made for MAPI into the other protocols. Anything done in MAPI needs to propagate to EAS, IMAP, DAVs, etc. as cleanly as possible. 

So, essentially, MAPI is done and were very close to incorporating tens of thousands of lines of code in into our main development branches which means were very close to running it in production and outside of our test environments.  This means we will be moving from our simulated load testing environments to production and real world environments. 

We're expecting the BETA to go out at the end of June to the customers that have requested it via sales. Based on the feedback we get during the BETA, we’ll have an announcement on the full, public release of MAPI.  

With MAPI integrated, it should solidify SmarterMail as the only cost-effective solution for ISP’s, hosting companies, service providers and, really, businesses across ANY industry, that provides enterprise-level functionality to users at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft Exchange. 

We appreciate our customers patience, MAPI was a long and complicated project and it’s no wonder why Microsoft Exchange was the only product to have native MAPI support.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Jason Weamer Replied
Hooray!  
0
Neal Culiner Replied
Can you educate us on how MAPI will work from a client standpoint. What clients use it, how will it be selected from a client or mobile app? Does it offer push services? What operating systems and clients support it?
3
echoDreamz Replied
This is not official, but their blog announcement previously stated it would work with Outlook 2013 and higher. I've never seen any mobile apps that support MAPI, if you have mobile, you want EAS. I'd assume the OS requirements would be the same as the base Outlook version being installed. No other clients besides Outlook support MAPI.

Christopher

0
Neal Culiner Replied
The interesting thing is Outlook is so bloated, doesn't render HTML email that well that it's not a client I typically use now, well, I don't use it! I use Mac Mail on the Mac which has the best email rendering of anything I've used and I use Windows 10 mail in Windows. Also not the best renderer but it's a good email client without the overhead of Outlook. Then mobile in which yes I use EAS. 

I guess I'll discontinue EWS licensing, I suggest it's just included in MAPI, it's dead. 
0
echoDreamz Replied
I've not had many issues with Outlook misrendering HTML emails, a few here and there, but it is getting better. They really need to strip out the Word HTML engine and replace it with their new Edge+Chromium engine.

I'd assume other email clients could implement MAPI, but it seems Exchange Web Services is where clients like eM Client and Apple Mail went, for what seems like obvious reasons. MAPI has no documentation and requires massive amounts of work between teams to get working.

Previous versions of MAPI were also based on/around the RPC protocol, which weeds out macOS and other operating systems, which I assume is another reason MAPI has been restricted to just Outlook on Windows.

We have pretty good usage of EWS with eM Client and Apple Mail users, so it wont be going anywhere for us.

Christopher

0
Neal Culiner Replied
Either Apple or SmarterTools has done something to make EWS broken in macOS Mac Mail. A shame, it used to work great.

The email rendering in Mac Mail is night and day from Outlook. It should all be the same if they render as the sender intended but that's not the case sadly. Hopefully this will improve over time but Mac Mail nails it.
0
echoDreamz Replied
What issues are you experiencing with the macOS Mail app?

Christopher

0
Neal Culiner Replied
It doesn't sync or update. I tried it again recently and mail stopped coming in, did so on multiple systems. Can't trust SM 17 on EWS with Mac sadly. 
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Neal, I would contact support because MacOS with EWS is by far the most popular combination for EWS and is what I use for a half dozen high volume accounts.  When there is a problem with the protocol, I usually find it.

I also use Outlook for MAC which uses EWS but I use it much less frequently.

I have Parallels setup and use Outlook for Windows via EAS.

These our my primarily clients.  I also test a wide variety of other clients for days as well in an effort to find problems.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
echoDreamz Replied
Yeah, I use it locally as well as numerous team members and I know of at least 2 dozen clients that use Apple Mail with EWS without issues.

The last issue we had was with folders randomly disappearing, this was fixed in the 7053 release and EWS has been stable since.

Christopher

0
Stefano Replied
Hi,

is there any news about a BETA with MAPI? ;)
6
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Were still on pace to release the BETA end of June.  Were just working on small bugs and CPU and Disk I/O optimizations .  All the code is in our main branches and being tested in production environments.  

We do have a couple outstanding issues that were trying to diagnose with Microsoft related to sharing of resources.  We found Microsoft Outlook acting in a similar behavior with Exchange so we think it might be Microsoft Outlook issues.  

We also discovered that Tasks have much more functionality in Microsoft Exchange including occurrences in Tasks etc.  Were adding that functionality into SmarterMail as well.

Little things here and there to make sure we match as close as possible with Exchange.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Jason Weamer Replied
Thank you Tim for the regular updates.   It's appreciated and for me, allows me to hang in there.  Anxiously awaiting!
0
Stefano Replied
Thank so much Tim!
I can't wait to try the BETA :D
0
Neal Culiner Replied
Confirm there is only one client that can work with MAPI and that's Microsoft Outlook? If so I'm not sure I'd pay for this to only support one client.
0
echoDreamz Replied
MAPI is supported by Outlook and Outlook alone.

Christopher

0
John Marx Replied
We are looking forward to the Outlook functionality for our Outlook clients. For our Apple clients, we use EWS which gives basically the same functionality. We plan on dropping ActiveSync once MAPI is active as that seems like the more logical choice (MAPI and EWS) rather than (ActiveSync and EWS).

Unless someone can tell me why we should keep ActiveSync.
3
Shaun Peet Replied
@John Marx

I believe ActiveSync is the preferred protocol for mobile devices.
0
John Marx Replied
What does ActiveSync offer that EWS or MAPI provide? As with most of us paying money just for a protocol when the others will do everything we need doesn't seem like a wise use of money.
0
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
@John,
    It doesn't necessarily offer anything different. But like Shaun mentioned it's the protocol you use for Mobile devices. You wont find MAPI on mobile and EWS is pretty much the same, though I'm aware of some Android apps that allow you to use EWS on mobile.
    If you don't serve mobile devices, Windows Mail, or you prefer IMAP/SMTP and no support for Calendars/Contacts. It doesn't really benefit you to have EAS over others. 
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Andrea Rogers Replied
Employee Post
Hi all, 

Some of the recent replies on this thread were discussing the cost of MAPI, and I went ahead and moved those to a new thread: MAPI Costs. Our goal for this thread is to provide updates regarding MAPI's progression and to answer questions about its functionality. We'd like to avoid getting derailed on other topics so that this can remain an open channel for updates regarding MAPI's functionality and release. 

Thank you, 

Andrea Rogers
Customer Operations Manager
SmarterTools Inc.
877-357-6278

www.smartertools.com

11
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
All,

MAPI update as of 6/12/19

We have been running MAPI in production internally and in private BETA with a few customers who have unique environments. 

Our intention was to release the Public BETA at the end of June. However, we have an opportunity to send the MAPI team to Redmond June 26th - 28th to have meetings with the Outlook, Exchange, MAPI and Protocol teams at Microsoft. We anticipate some minor changes to our implementation of MAPI, as well as other protocols, coming from those meetings. So, we're rescheduling the full public BETA to begin the week of July 15th.

Almost all of MAPI will be available at the start of the Public BETA, but we do have some areas that we will be updating as we progress through the BETA. The items are:

New Properties Coming to Webmail 
MAPI has a set of properties that appear in Outlook, but are not visible to other protocols. One example of these is Mileage for tasks. We will incorporate these properties into webmail as well, in order to display them on items that have them set. This will bring more consistency to webmail and Outlook, especially when using MAPI.

Task Recurrence
Recurring tasks will be added to all protocols as well as webmail. This requires Tasks to function more like calendar appointments internally, with support for time zones, recurrence, recurrence exceptions and reminders. We want this to function identically across all methods of task modification and viewing.

Efficiency
BETAs are exceptionally good times for us to evaluate performance at scale, and it is our intent to increase performance and decrease memory usage of the new areas of SmarterMail throughout the BETA.

Logging Changes
Detailed logging can quickly make very large files that are hard to manage and read. This is especially true with MAPI, which generates large logs very quickly. As a result, MAPI logs will need a new log format that's not text-based but that can be read from within the interface or with a tool. This new format may be pushed to other protocols as well, reducing the disk space needed when detailed logging is turned on.

Public Folder Sharing
User-to-user shared folders is already implemented inside of MAPI in SmarterMail. Public folders (domain calendars, for instance) are intended to be added during BETA so we can also ensure that they work properly with other protocols and on the devices that support them.

Spooler Functions
Exchange can operate as a spooler, allowing for transport and storage of mail intended to spool. This is functionality that will be added during BETA. This is not to be confused with SmarterMail's spool, and does not refer to normal delivery of mail.

Conversations
MAPI already has the ability to track conversations but we need to incorporate this into the other protocols as well. We will not be updating webmail for conversation view at this time.

As you can see, we're in the final stages with MAPI and now making sure all protocols and areas of SmarterMail are integrating many of these new features that are found in MAPI.

We're getting close, and we can’t wait to get this in your hands!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Alex Clarke Replied
Thanks for the update Tim... this all sounds very promising!
0
CLEBER SAAD Replied
Hello Tim,
Sounds good! 
1
Heimir Eidskrem Replied
it would be fantastic to have an affordable Exchange alternative.  
But it needs to be a real replacement.

Very excited.


1
Shaun Peet Replied
Fingers crossed we're still on target to start the BETA next week :)
0
Colin M Replied
So no beta today, I take it?
0
Shaun Peet Replied
Still 4 more days left in the week. I remain hopeful :)
12
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer
All,

Here is THE update!

We're excited to announce the MAPI BETA will be released this Friday, the 19th, to customers who have previously requested participation. If anyone else is interested, please contact our salesteam (sales@smartertools.com) and we'll get you involved.

For each of you who ARE participating, an email will be sent from your new Sales Executive with instructions and details. Sales Executive, you say? Yep...will be announcing details about this new direction, along with some other exciting news, soon to all customers. However, for you special peeps in the community, here is a little sneak peek:

We've been saying for awhile that our integration of MAPI is a huge deal that will help SmarterTools grow, now and in the future! But why do we believe that?

For one, SmarterMail will now be the only REAL alternative to Microsoft Exchange because we will be the only other mail server with NATIVE MAPI integration. Every other competitor requires a plugin for Outlook which provides limited MAPI functionality. It also requires manual installations / updates on each machine with Outlook, so distribution across an organization is a nightmare. In addition, the MAPI plugin model is buggy and not something Microsoft is continuing to update moving forward. So, basically, our competitors are kind of screwed.

In addition, SmarterMail provides Team Workspaces, which includes video conferencing, instant messaging, file storage and a variety of other functionality not really seen in competing products, including Exchange. If they DO offer similar functionality, it usually comes with additional costs.
Lastly, SmarterMail was built for ISP's, service providers, and hosting companies, and we built MAPI with that in mind.  Exchange can't be used in low cost / high volume environments for these industries!

Based on all the functionality SmarterMail is providing as well as the VERY low licensing cost vs Exchange, low cost of hardware requirements vs Exchange, and because managing a SmarterMail installation vs Exchange is so much easier, we are getting a significant amount of attention from a wide variety of companies.

We've spent almost 2 years on MAPI, but at the same time we've been preparing SmarterTools for this evolution. The simplification of our frequent product releases, the changes to Maintenance and Support, the inclusion of technical support for free with M&S, offering free installation with any Enterprise license purchase...all of these were most major steps towards this end goal. We even increased our technical support team when we did this, and we've added more team members in preparation for MAPI.

As many of you have seen, while working on MAPI we have been releasing new versions of SmarterMail continually with new features, optimizations and bug fixes.  Many customers haven noticed how many improvements have been made to EWS and EAS.  Throughout this process, we've been working with Microsoft very closely, not just on MAPI but on all protocols to ensure they meet Microsoft's specifications EXACTLY, while also preparing these other protocols to support the additional MAPI functionality.

Now, with regards to the Sales Executives team specifically, we believe it is in the best interests of our customers to have an assigned Sales Executive. This person will be your point of contact when you want to purchase a product or get guidance on how to architect an environment.  Although their technical skillset will be limited, they have authority to bring in resources from across the company to find solutions.  Also, if you are ever having recurring issues with Technical Support, you can contact your Sales Executive to look into the issue and see where things stand. We want customers to build relationships with their Sales Executive, and for that person to be your point of contact.

As you can see, we have a lot of changes coming, and more will be announced shortly. That said, every change we're making is intended to provide the same high level of service to customers, while also increasing the number of features that are available to them. Keep your eyes out for more information!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Neal Culiner Replied
I don't know about anyone else but that message really concerns me, as a small company. I also hate any company putting down competitors, karma usually finds its way. But know your competition, your competitor IS EXCHANGE. I and none of my users, a small number, use anything but the usual Mail, Calendar, Contacts. We don't use the chat, file storage, etc. etc. I seriously wish ST great success but right now I'm on the fence for what I will use in the future. I have my quotes from Dell to move to exchange but it is a huge endeavor for me to make that change. I probably should have done so years ago but for now I'm staying put but I'm ready to jump if needed. I really don't care about Outlook, I think it's a dying platform when even Windows 10 mail is better than Outlook and Windows 10's included calendar and contacts. Who needs Outlook any more? It's a pig! 

Well, we'll see what happens going forward. Again, the message was more disturbing than motivating to me, just my $.02.
4
Proto Replied
Neal: 

Respectfully, I think you may have gone down the wrong path in interpreting what you read. Within it I did not hear a competitor being attacked, I heard a technology under attack. It may not be under ATTACK by Microsoft but it is certainly becoming another "nobody's child" there and that does not bode well for anyone moving forward whether a user or a devleloper. 

For SmarterMail Enterprise to have any future I believe it had to truly become an Exchange alternative. Many of us have paid dearly for marketing it as such and then having it fall short of customers expectations - paricularly with respect to support for Outlook. I believe Tim saw the writing on the wall, has identified a competitve edge and undertands the opportunity if SmarterTools gets it right as well as the downside if it doesn't. I would be very concerned if there was still any indication that SmarterTools didn't understand that. He has bucked up with a significant commitment of resources and it is that commitment, certianly not the product as it is, that has kept us paying for support and upgrades we do not use. I have advocated MAPI for several years because I do not believe you can compete with Exchange, or position yourself as an alternative to it, unless you embrace the protocol Microsoft uses to do what it does. Office 365 with E-Mail introduced a new dynamic and it has certainly garnered a lot of market share but there are many reasons a company might chose not to adopt it and we have assisted some in getting back off it onto hosted or in-house Exchange or SmarterMail if what it has been capable of met the need. There is still a market for an Office 365 and Exchange alternative moving foward and I say this as an SPLA licensee with access to Exchange at prices that make it practical for a hosting provider. 

Personally, I curse Outlook frequently and there is no question it is a consistent source of support revenue for us. This is true whether it is connected to Office 365 Mail or a competitive product. At the same time, many organizations have made large commitments to it and integrated it with other products. Although Windows 10 Mail may, as you suggest, be more stable and have a few of the essentials. It is not an alternative to Outlook for many use cases. I believe that if SmarterMail is to move forward, it must fully support Outlook as a client and that it needs to do this at least as well as Exchange. I also believe that the team at SmarterTools have decided that failure is not an option and will get us there, soon. One of SmarterMails' great strengths will be full MAPI integration. It will set it apart from EVERY competitor for the moment and it will allow SmarterMail to do things the others simply can't. The MAPI plug-ins simply don't do what is expected of them with anywhere near the feature set or reliability of Outlook as an Exchange client. If you doubt this, evaluate any of the competitors Tim chose not to identify by name in this post. They use an inferior plug-in technology that does not do what it needs to do and is loosing mindshare at Microsoft. This is something SmarterTools needs to have existing customers and new customers understand. It will be  the most significant differentiation between SmarterMail and competitive products (with the exception of Microsoft Exchange of course). I see no other way to make that clear in a few soundbites other than to juxtapose full MAPI integration, as Exchange itself uses, against the plug-ins. When you do that, I'm afraid the plug-in approach will come under fire. There really is no other way. Companies that use it now are somewhat screwed in their ability to compete with Exchange and, as the underlying technology evolves with no ongoing support from Microsoft for the plug-in approach, they will become fully screwed, as will their users. I think that is what Tim was trying to get across. This is a significant difference that will set SmarterMail apart from the competitors for some time to come and there is an opportunity for SmarterMail to gain marketshare as a true alternative to Exchange in order to provide some sort of return on the significant commitment a smaller organization like SmarterTools has had to make to get to this point.

 By all means adopt Exchange, I doubt you will be dissapointed with it; but if you'd like that and more (as much more as you care to use, you can chose to ignore the things you don't need) why not hang in there another two days and take a look at what SmarterMail brings to the table and how far away you think it is from being a production ready solution for you. I'm hoping, and expect, that it is pretty much there. You really have nothing to loose. Dell and other integrators with turnkey Exchange solutions will be there if you decide you need them.

 Again, respectfully, I did not hear Tim slamming a competitor. I heard a guy who has made a huge commitment slamming a technology that he has bet the farm on will not carry the competitors forward. 

I wish you smooth sailing no matter which path you choose to tread.
SmarterMail(tm) 1617
MAPI over HTTP - Let's do it!
9
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Neal, your always finding something to complain about. I often have users private messaging me to delete your posts so it doesn't derail threads.  I thought it would be good to respond to this one.

I find it hypocritical when you "put down" and degrade SmaterTools, SmarterMail, Microsoft, Microsoft Outlook but are offended when I make a factual statement about our competitors.

It is a FACT: without native MAPI support, our competitors will be screwed and it will be difficult to compete against Microsoft Exchange or SmarterMail because Microsoft is getting much more aggressive in "reducing the bloat" in Microsoft Outlook.  Microsoft is no longer improving, and very often deprecating, many older technologies like MAPI plugin functionality, EAS, Sharepoint / Sync to Outlook, etc. We spent the last 2 years building native MAPI support for these reasons, and because it was the #1 requested feature from current and new customers.

Microsoft Exchange is our competition and that is why I provided so much information in my post about Exchange.  And I'm assuming your comment about Dell and Exchange confirms the points I was making regarding the cost, hardware requirements and how much more time and effort it takes to get Exchange up an running and maintain.

Although MAPI or Microsoft Outlook may not be of interest to you, it is #1 desktop client used in business environments.

For some companies Microsoft Outlook might not be necessary. In many cases we encourage customers to simplify their life and use Webmail so there are no desktop clients to manage.

Window Mail (over the last year) along with Calendar and People is a great solution for some companies. It's clearly best used with EAS, but there are many limitations that prevent corporations from using it.

We're not a software behemoth but a hard working group of people that accomplished what most companies haven't been able to accomplish. Even the folks we work with at Microsoft were both impressed and surprised we've done what we've done, and made it a point to let us know when our guys were up in Redmond a couple of weeks ago. Therefore, we take it very personally when you constantly try to diminish or degrade us, our products, and our company.

I think I have made it clear I wasn't diminishing any of our competitors but making factual statements about the state of Microsoft Outlook and what is necessary to provide a complete Exchange experience, and to provide features Exchange users want, but at a much lower price point and with a fraction of the overhead and management costs.

I will say, we do have a couple competitors that get under our skin.  One company copies and clones everything we do from how we labeled our products, priced our products, and upgrade protection on our products as well as features in most releases.  A second company had joined our community and for a year caused controversy.  It took us a while to figure out who that company was and confront them with legal action.

We have never gone to those lengths with a competitor, and never will.  But, I will always point out the differences in our products and the direction the industry and companion products or services are moving.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
I just want to say that while we`ve tried to push everyone off of MS Outlook (and the whole MS Office package), this is simply impossible. I know that many people can work without the MS Office package - I know I can, but there are always a percentage that cannot or do not want to use WebMail or other solution. And the fact that usually the higher-up use the MS Outlook client most often, not supporting them always hurts us. It does not matter that you offer good service to 200 people if 2 higher-ups are unhappy -> basically you are doing a bad job and the budget allocated to you is a waste from their point of view.

As such, regardless of our wishes, I think that Outlook is here to stay and if SmarterMail will support it natively, then we are looking forward to this. It will be the biggest improvement we can do for a portion of our users ever since we`ve moved from MS Exchange to SmarterMail.

My fear is that Microsoft will find a way to screw everyone in the future anyway and will change how Outlook will work or implement a new protocol and deprecate MAPI just as they`ve done with EAS and we`ll all be back to square 1.

So, Tim, please get this MAPI out already as we`re promising it now for a lot of time to our users. We need to see it working and working well.

As for Neal, I understand his point of view, but that is simply not the only point of view - we have to take all use cases into account. I would say that deleting user posts are not worth it unless they are really out of topic. Better to see the whole discussion, with the good and the bad (after all, America is big on "Free speech" and I like that).
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echoDreamz Replied
I personally cannot wait for this. We have quite a few customers waiting for this too, it's going to be big for us. Neal may not care about Outlook and may think it is dying. But the MANY THOUSANDS of Outlook users we have and growing says otherwise. Offering a native MAPI solution that integrates tightly with Outlook and SM would be the icing on the cake for us and would help seal the deal on numerous new clients.

Christopher

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Chuck Fields Replied
It doesn't sound like this will be native. It will be an add-on. So until we see pricing it's hard to say what kind of a value it may or may not be =\

I for one am excited to see what it has to offer. To be able to provide an alternative that's close will be big. I've already oversold smartermail though so my expectations are high. Like many of you i don't like to look like a fool to my customers.
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echoDreamz Replied
It is native... IE works with Outlook without needing a plugin like other mail servers. Other mail servers like Zimbra need an Outlook connector to simulate MAPI.

Christopher

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