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E-Mail Is So Five Minutes Ago

It's being replaced by software that promotes real-time collaboration

Darren Lennard is a managing director in the London offices of European-based investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. He became something of a creative-class everyman a month ago when, after a long and onerous day at the office, he plucked his hyperactive BlackBerry from his silk-lined pocket and proceeded to smash it on the gleaming granite countertop of his London home.

As if an explanation is necessary. The analytically gifted investment banker had morphed into a zombie-faced thumb man, wheeling through his engorged in-box as his last activity before going to bed and his first upon waking. The time squandered on his electronic mistress made his brain reel. Of the 250 e-mails he received each day, he says "85% were totally not important to my job." Think that ratio of e-waste sounds depressing? It gets worse. Legitimate e-mail will drop to 8% this year, down from 12% last year, according to Redwood City (Calif.) e-mail filtering outfit Postini Inc.