Ten days ago, when I reported about my casual experiment — testing a group of classic email clients against a modern email service such as Gmail — I couldn’t help but point out the excellent results given by PowerMail 4.2.1, a client written by CTM Development (the link takes you to the page of PowerMail 6 for Mac OS X, since the classic version is no longer developed).
In my previous post, I wrote:
If I were to pick my favourite client to use with Gmail, I would choose PowerMail. Now, again, the irony is that PowerMail is the only commercial product of the bunch — in other words, it doesn’t come free. If you want to handle multiple Gmail accounts with a versatile and powerful email client for the classic Mac on a daily basis, I’m sure you won’t mind paying for PowerMail. The current version is 6, works on Mac OS X, and according to CTM Dev website a licence for 1-2 users costs $49 or 49 Euros (without SpamSieve) or $65 with SpamSieve. If you try to connect to CTM Dev through the older PowerMail 4.2.1 you get a ‘Service Unavailable’ error, so I guess you should contact the company and ask about pricing for the older classic Mac OS version of PowerMail. I will try to contact them and ask about this myself. Who knows, maybe they’re even willing to consider turning pre-Mac OS X versions of PowerMail freeware, given that now the majority of Mac users are on Mac OS X.
A few days ago I did contact CTM Development and enquired about the possibility of a free release of PowerMail 4.2.x for hardcore classic Mac OS geeks like you and me.
I was positively surprised by their promptness in replying. Unfortunately they’re not willing to release pre-Mac OS X versions of PowerMail as freeware, but they made me an offer anyway and told me that I could let my readers know about it if I felt it was relevant, otherwise they would respect my (and maybe your) disappointment. What follows is the interesting part of their email, which they authorised me to report:
What we will do on occasion then is to offer people who really want PowerMail 4.2.1 to purchase the current version and we will give them a free upgrade down to 4.2.1, while providing support on the current release only. We may be able to work something like this out for your readers, with the advantage being that they own a personal licence to two versions of the same product, and if they ever move over to X their data will be moveable with them.
In a follow-up email, they added:
The important thing is that people explicitly add in the comments field of their order (in capitals) REQUEST SUPPLEMENTAL UNSUPPORTED 4.2.1 LICENCE. Also, tell them to order PowerMail alone and not the more expensive bundle with SpamSieve.
In a nutshell, for $49 (or 49 Euros) you can have both PowerMail for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9. It might not be the best deal in the world, but I think it’s quite a reasonable offer. Sort of two programs at the price of one, legitimately obtained. PowerMail is really a good email client. Although it’s not my primary client, I really recommend it. I used it extensively in the past, and considered a migration from Apple Mail when I was using it under Mac OS X 10.4. Now it’s the main email client on two other Macs I own; I use it lightly but it never gave me a problem. If you’re not satisfied with your email client in Mac OS X, give it a try. If you need a still modern and reliable email client under Mac OS 9, you should definitely consider it.
Finally, a disclaimer: my endorsement of PowerMail is genuine and there isn’t any behind-the-scenes agreement between CTM Development and me. I contacted them with a proposal, and they were gracious enough to reply and make this counter-offer. That’s it. I do hope to send some customers their way, though, because they deserve it, in my opinion. They’ve been developing software for the Mac since 1985, and from what I’ve seen, they have great respect for the Mac community.