I like Thunderbird as my outlook replacement. It's easy to install, easy to use, and stable. I'm a developer and it's the type of program I strive to write. My wife uses it and has yet to blow it up or complain about how the address book and contacts works. If it passes her test it can pass any user. Trust me on this. I haven't really used Gmail though I do have an account that a zealous friend opened for me. Do you get a deal by enlisting folks or something =). Anyway, I don't have anything against the MS products that don't suffer from bloat, mission creep, are difficult to use, or cost an arm and a leg.... Ok so that leaves one program. Notepad! Love that little app =).