Ray Ozzie's Weblog: on the death of email etc. "If you're hoping for some super-duper neo-PIM to or super-filter or super-law to come along to make your life easier, spare yourself the agony and just think ahead: it is NOT a sustainable solution if it is still called "eMail". eMail is thirty years old, and we owe it a great debt of honor, but it has been pushed well beyond its design center and it's time to move on. Incrementally, progressively, but most definitely.
If you have work to do with others, online, try workspaces. There are many different types - from Groove if you like client-based mobility, to SharePoint if you like using Websites. No noise, no spam, tuned to save your time. Of course, you can't give up on eMail, and likely never will. As time goes on, though, you'll only visit eMail as a low-priority background task, much as you do when sorting through your physical mail at home. You'd never do important work through your home mailbox, would you?"
Workspaces are indeed very powerful tools. I don't think email will die, however; I think it will be subsumed into a larger class of channel-and-item types of communication, with consolidated notification mechanisms, filtering, off-line caching, etc. Other instances include RSS feeds, NNTP, persistent IM services, and, eventually, your phone. Channels and workspaces are very complementary, for communication and collaboration, respectively.