Mozilla’s Lightning to strike Outlook?

The Mozilla Foundation is hatching yet another software project to challenge a key Microsoft title.

The new project, code-named Lightning, aims to integrate Mozilla’s calendar application, Sunbird, with its recently released Thunderbird e-mail application. That integration is aimed right at the heart of Microsoft’s widely used Outlook software.

“I think Outlook leaves a lot of room for a fast competitor,” said a Mozilla volunteer involved in the project, who asked not to be named. “There’s a lot of user dissatisfaction out there, and it will be interesting to see what the market looks like once there’s a strong open-source alternative.”

After years of delays and miscues, Mozilla has made some market inroads this year with its Firefox Web browser. Web surfers have downloaded more than 12 million copies of the software since its version 1.0 launch last month, nudging Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer browser below the 90 percent market share mark for the first time in years, according to one survey.

Whether Thunderbird, released this month, can have a similar impact on the Outlook juggernaut depends in large part on how quickly Mozilla can match some of the calendar features Outlook ties into the e-mail application.”

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