ACT developers promise Palm version

Fans of the ACT contact management software can look forward to a revival of the program and a version which runs on the Palm handheld.

Fans of the ACT contact management software can look forward to a revival of the program and a version which runs on the Palm handheld.

The program's original developers have reclaimed it, having watched it "languish" in the hands of Symantec for the past six-and-a-half years. "The user response has been ecstatic because the two guys who invented ACT own it again," says one of the pair, Mike Muhney. Muhney, who was in Auckland last week, is scathing of Symantec's support of ACT, which it bought from him and partner Pat Sullivan in an equity deal worth $US47 million. In January, Muhney and Sullivan's new company, Interact Commerce, bought it back for $US60 million. Interact has set 125 developers to work on new ACT releases, including a Palm version which it aims to have ready by February. Muhney says a Symantec version for the Palm has "a horrible interface". "There's pent-up demand for a native Palm OS version." Not from ACT user Murray Dobson, of real estate company Bayleys' Takapuna office, however. Dobson is a Windows CE-based Cassiopeia user. The bad news for him is that Interact has no plans for a CE version of ACT, Muhney saying "there are no users". Despite being neglected on that front, Dobson is enthusiastic about ACT's future. "Anything that enhances it is great," he says. Auckland ACT-certified consultant Helen Anderson is also pleased at the software's return to its origins. "The thing about Symantec is that ACT was ranked four or five in its product portfolio." She expects the product to be better supported by Interact, although the company's nearest office is Melbourne. Interact plans to integrate the program with Web-based services.

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