First, the company is releasing a version of its Internet Mail and News software for Windows 95. The software is the first email client from the company to support LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), a technology that allows directory servers that store email addresses, phone numbers, security keys, and other personal data to share information with email clients from different vendors.
The company also announced relationships with the leading public email directories Switchboard, 411, Bigfoot, and WhoWhere to make it easier to connect to those companies' LDAP servers, said Microsoft product manager Kevin Unangst.
LDAP is well on its way to becoming an accepted Net standard that could simplify communications on the Net and within companies.
The protocol received its most significant endorsement in April, when Netscape Communications led a group of vendors, including Lotus Development and Novell, to throw their support behind LDAP. Netscape has incorporated LDAP into its Directory Server and will offer it in Communicator.
Internet Mail and News include direct links only to 411 and Bigfoot since those are the only two to already have LDAP servers up and running, but Microsoft will add links to the other two when they are available.