On display was an electronic stamp the U.S. Postal
Service plans to sell to certify authenticity and delivery time of e-mail.
[...] The plan is to have e-mail-postage software
available in the next 30 to 45 days At first, it would be an add-on to
Microsoft's popular Outlook e-mail-management software.
Later, it would be bundled into the new version of
Microsoft's Office suite, due around summer. When loaded, it would appear as
several buttons on the Outlook control panel.
Users would pay the Postal Service anywhere
from a penny to $2, depending on the volume of use, to add an official stamp of
authenticity. The stamp would be applied with a click, not a
[...] Several attempts by
companies to charge per e-mail for authentication services have failed, noted
analysts at IDC, a research company in Framingham, Mass.
[...] A key reason is people still don't trust the
technology enough, IDC's research shows.
[AuthentiDate Chief Executive Rob] Van Naarden
said electronic postmarks will succeed because they have federal
authority. He said the stamps would provide legal force to electronic documents,
and the Postal Service can prosecute people who circumvent the
So now it becomes clear why the Bush
administration has gone easy on Microsoft -- it planned to become its business