Anger as UK company drops G-Mail service

The head of IIR says Google has not followed through on its promise to stop using 'Gmail' in the UK

The company that stopped Google from using the Gmail name for its email system in the UK has dropped its own G-Mail service, in what it insists is only a temporary measure.

The chief executive of Independent International Investment Research (IIR), Shane Smith, told ZDNet UK said that the ongoing action against Google had "become a distraction" and said that he had taken the step of dropping the service from his company's product line in order to "focus on the business".

In October 2005, Google said it was dropping the use of the Gmail name in the UK of its own volition because "trying to work things out has become distracting and annoying".

Google then renamed Gmail as Google Mail in the UK, but only applied the new name to the email addresses of new users. Existing users continue to use their existing email addresses.

"That is part of the problem," said Smith. "They say that they have dropped the name but they haven't really — they continue to use it in the UK."

Smith said he was anxious to prevent confusion between Google's offering and his own company's service, which is a specialised investment advisory system which works by delivering targeted emails to his customers and his customers' customers.

Smith maintains that he took action originally because "it is no small thing for a company of our size to launch and position a new product — we have already wasted a lot of effort."

As far as Smith is concerned, IIR has established the right to use the G-Mail name in the UK, the rest of Europe and the US through prior use and his company continues to try and get that principle established.

But the use of the Gmail, or G-Mail, name continues to be a source of confusion. Smith pointed out that there were other companies claiming the right to use the name in Canada, Germany — where Google also calls its service Google Mail — and Switzerland as well as other countries.

Google did not wish to comment on this latest development.