Framingham, Mass. (Oct. 31, 2003) -- Instant messaging and seemingly uncontrollable spam may kill email as the dominant form of electronic communication, a new study predicts.

According to a study from global market intelligence and advisory firm IDC, the rise of spam is reducing email’s usefulness by forcing users and information technology staff to spend additional time and energy to identify, delete, and prevent spam from clogging in-boxes.

IDC’s research found that in 2003 spam represented 32 percent of all external and internal email sent on an average day in North America, up from 24 percent in 2002. And with over 500 million business email users worldwide this year, and an expected 20 billion spam messages to be sent daily across the globe by 2006, IDC said the impact on business communications could be enormous.

<“To keep email at the collaboration center stage, email proponents will need to do a better job of helping end-users manage email and use other collaborative tools in conjunction with email,” Mark Levitt, research vice president for collaborative computing at IDC, said in a statement.

The study, Worldwide Email Usage Forecast 2003-2007: Spam and Instant Messaging Take a Bite Out of Email, also found that the immediacy and presence awareness of instant messaging is being noticed more widely in the workplace. However, instant messaging is becoming more similar to email in terms of corporate requirements for tracking and archiving of messages.

This is IDC’s fifth annual study on the subject. It focuses on overall email usage trends and does not provide information about individual email companies, products, or services.

The study provides a 10-year perspective (1997-2007) on how email usage is changing and includes trends and analysis on a range of topics including email boxes, users, primary access methods and volumes of different types of email.

-- WebCPA staff

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