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3/23/2006
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Foldera To Launch Hosted Application Suite

Along with E-mail and instant messages, the Web-based software will organize all types of content. For instance, it's designed to route E-mails into folders as they arrive.

Foldera Inc. said this week it will launch on April 15 its long-awaited Web-application suite for e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging, document storage, versioning and tasks.

If all goes as planned, the application will organize all types of content. For instance after initial setup, it is designed to route e-mails into folders as they arrive, and users should be able to create activity folders for each project and share documents in groups.

The application, built with Web 2.0 technology, took five years to complete, Foldera said.

"We already have about 10,000 businesses requesting more than 1 million seats for the service," said Richard Lusk, founder and chief executive officer, from the company's office in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Foldera is hopeful a host of features will attract businesses that have between 10 and 100 employees. Lusk said smaller companies have been shut out of this market.

The basic e-mail service is free, along with 1 gigabyte of storage. Foldera expects to participate in revenue-sharing, a percentage of advertising dollars generated from click-throughs on Google Inc.'s search engine.

Venture-capital funding topped out at about $13.5 million. Foldera said they spent nearly half to develop the application suite prior to Expert Systems acquiring the company in February.

The platform suite is supported by Oracle Corp. databases and Dell Corp. servers housed in Irvine and Torrance, Calif., data centers. Texas and New York data centers are expected soon.

The business model will take Foldera head-on with more established players, such as Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp, Lusk acknowledged.

"We expect to compete with similar services offered by Microsoft and IBM," he said.

New features were feverishly being added in preparation for the launch. For example, a pop-up window will alert users when a new task, document or e-mail arrives. A feature also will allow Foldera users to work offline in an F-Drive folder. Lusk said when the machine reconnects online, the application synchronizes to the server and uploads the data.

The application suite offers mashups, which combines content from more than one source to create a seamless experience. They tap into application program interfaces (APIs) from Mapquest. When the cursor rolls over an address a pop-up window appears, with help from Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax).

Ajax integrated throughout the application allows users to view the folder's content without opening it. Dragging a cursor over an entry on any calendar day provides information on who created the meeting, for example. "FedEx is publishing an API, so if someone sends you an e-mail with a FedEx number, you can run your mouse over the e-mail to get the data on where the package is located," Lusk said. "We'll also host the mail exchange record."

Along with the e-mail service, Foldera will provide businesses with a Web site to promote their goods and services. Easy access to an HTTP page is provided. Business owners can post data and graphics. Searchable keywords are added to allow those surfing online to locate the site.

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