Reader Question: Is Xobni the likely winner in Email 2.0?

Q: Hey Chris – have you seen Xobni yet? It may not be the end-all, but it’s on the right track.
Asked by Casey Woodrum

A: Hey Casey, thanks for the ping. I’m definitely aware of Xobni, and they’re doing a great job of building buzz around the idea that the current conventions for email and contact management are badly broken. I also noticed with interest their acquisition of the Zaplets IP, and will be on the lookout for where they head with that.

At first I thought the founders were just repeating their successful Lookout playbook, building a logical feature extension for MS Outlook more nimbly than Microsoft could and then selling it back to the mothership. But now it looks like they’re at least positioning to compete with Outlook and become a messaging platform in their own right (though that may just be smart positioning to drive price).

If they really plan to make a run at the “Email 2.0” crown, though, I think they’re going to have to move off the desktop and deliver their ideas in the cloud. At least right now, they’re totally dependent on the Outlook client, and there’s still room for someone to tackle the same value prop in an entirely web-based platform that coexists with Exchange (and all the webmail platforms), but is completely device-independent.

Let the fun begin!

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