This article, recently signposted to me by my good friend and long-term business acquaintance, Richard Marshall, talks about the MIME standard and the two guys that devised it: Ned Freed and Nathaniel Borenstein.
Years ago, Ned Freed, was behind a company called Innosoft, who wrote a messaging backbone and email switching product called PMDF eMail Interconnect.
PMDF enabled enterprises that were using proprietary email systems, such as Digital All-In-1, VMS Mail, Lotus cc:Mail and yes – Microsoft Mail – to exchange emails with ‘the outside world’ using the then, very new, Internet email service.
I’m proud to say that Essential introduced PMDF to Europe and sold it to hundreds of large enterprises, including Reuters, BAe Systems, the HSBC entity, and many more.
Funnily enough, it wasn’t an easy sale.
Bear in mind this was back in the days when something called X.400 (and not SMTP/MIME ) was considered the only safe and reliable way for businesses to exchange emails. I recall spending hours convincing folk that SMTP/MIME was the way to go and that it wouldn’t unleash all sorts of problems associated with this ‘new kid on the block’ called the Internet.
PMDF could also be used to switch between totally proprietary business email systems. For example, when we provided say, an email switch between Lotus cc:Mail and MSmail (the fore-runner to Exchange), the email would be converted using MIME as an interim format. However SMTP was viewed with so much scepticism at the time, it made for an easier sale if I glossed over the fact that SMTP/MIME was at the core of the conversion. Random!
Anyway, PMDF, the SMTP/MIME standard and Ned Freed (who we met on several occasions) were the inspiration for Essential’s role in providing transitional solutions for email. This is because the MIME standard itself makes the perfect pro-forma for every email type out there.
Over the years we have helped organisations cope with change in email, and are probably best known these days for helping companies migrate their legacy email archives to new platforms, including the latest 3rd-party archive products, Exchange personal archives and ‘the cloud’.
Thanks, Ned and Nathaniel, for your legacy.