Is e-mail as we know it dying?

Earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams remarked to CBS’ Charlie Rose that, “E-mail is the most intimate witness to our lives. Yet it hasn’t changed since the days of Hotmail. We keep files in there. We share pictures of our kids in there. There are receipts in there. E-mail knows a lot about our lives. It’s been dying for someone to come at it from a completely different angle. It’s ripe for reimagining. Someone will do it.” Recently, CNBC’s Eli Langer called for an “e-mail revolution” in 2014-with a bold prediction that users will soon be able to “share messages that disappear after 30 seconds or 24 hours”-quite akin to Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging capabilities that swept the nation this year.

While we certainly agree that e-mail for personal use is long overdue for an overhaul (and we’ve seen services such as Google’s Priority Inbox and LinkedIn Intro make strides in that direction), the notion of business e-mail as a big, cumbersome inbox that’s on its way out couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, according to The Radicati Group, e-mail is expected to remain the go-to form of communications in the business world for the foreseeable future. This year, global business e-mail accounts total 929 million mailboxes, and this number is expected to consistently grow five percent year-over-year for the next four years. The firm also predicts that a whopping 132 billion business e-mails will be sent and received per day by the end of 2017.

Due to increasingly stringent regulations requiring industries such as financial services, healthcare and retail to retain, archive, and protect data, it’s hard to imagine a future in which e-mails containing sensitive information are sent, read, then disappear. And we don’t see that becoming a reality any time soon. In business, e-mail truly does live forever.

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