Eudora Light and Eudora Pro Merge

QUALCOMM announced today that it would soon begin providing their full-featured Eudora Pro email client to users at no charge. You heard right, FREE! Eudora is a very popular email client that in the past had a limited feature freeware version and a more powerful commercial version that currently sells for $49.95.

In the words of Qualcomm, “This represents a major, free upgrade for over 16 million existing Eudora Light users, and a powerful solution for other email users as well.” Well, sorta. A free full-featured version of Eudora is nothing to sneeze at by any stretch of the imagination, but the deal is not quite that clear cut.

What Qualcomm is doing is consolidating the freeware Light and the $49.95 Pro packages into a single product. But this one version of Eudora can operate in any of three modes.

Light mode — in light mode you get what you basically have now with Eudora Light. A featured limited version of the Eudora email client. It won’t have any rotating advertising but will include a sponsor image or logo somewhere on the application.

Sponsored mode — here is really what this whole product change is all about. You get the full-featured version of Eudora Pro free but with rotating advertising. In effect, you get all the features and Qualcomm gets to sell ads on its software. A model not unlike a lot of free Internet products these days and one that is bound to appeal to many users.

Paid mode — this is the a la mode as it were. To get this mode – – full-featured, no rotating advertising — you have to shell out $49.95; exactly the same price of the current Eudora Pro.

While it appears that not much has really changed, the Sponsored mode really is a boon to users who can get all the features in Eudora Pro for free. While we’ve not seen the implementation, we don’t expect the rotating ads to be more than a minor inconvenience.

The release of this product is scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2000. There is, however, going to be a beta program beginning December 9th that is open to the first 250,000 users to download the beta software from the Qualcomm site.