Plaxo launched a Mozilla Thunderbird-compatible beta version of its e-mail contact management software Tuesday. Plaxo Toolbar for Thunderbird will allow Thunderbird users to update their e-mail contacts and calendars automatically using Plaxo's software.
Thunderbird, released in December 2004, is Mozilla's desktop e-mail client.
The partnership represents a vote of confidence in Mozilla's open-source browser and e-mail software. Mozilla offers free open-source alternatives to Microsoft's Outlook Express and Internet Explorer (IE) and recently has been chipping away at IE's colossal market share.
Though many add-ons to Firefox and Thunderbird are available through Mozilla's Web site, this is the first e-mail contact management product to support Thunderbird.
"One lf the great things about this Plaxo extension is that it shows off how extendable and customizable the Mozilla platform is," said Thunderbird lead engineer Scott MacGregor. "For a third-party company to come in and [add this extension] I think that is very important. Extensions are a big part of customizing the product for each individual user and the fact that companies like Plaxo can do this is a big step for them."
In addition to Thunderbird, Plaxo is also fully integrated with Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook. Additionally, Plaxo users can synchronize address book information from a variety of Web-based e-mail providers such as Hotmail and Yahoo Mail.
Mozilla's Firefox browser has been downloaded more than 75 million times. Thunderbird is approaching 10 million downloads, MacGregor said. Plaxo's products are used by over 5 million clients.
A download of Plaxo Toolbar for Thunderbird in beta is now available from http://www.plaxo.com/downloads/tbird.