The "email is broken" meme is not new. I continue to depend on email for the bulk of my professional activity and have done a decent job managing my mailbox relatively effectively, unlike some others, who have declared email bankruptcy (I have no doubt they have significantly more inbound email than I do). I also subscribe to Fred's assertion that Social Networking has usurped email in lightweight communications.
However, I also think that there is room for creativity and innovation in how email works right now.
Last week, I used email to communicate the launch of a recent investment of mine, Grupanya. Since email allows for easy personal targeting, I crafted a few different messages for a few distinct audiences. Then used email to send it out.
The result was appalling. About 25% of the emails I sent out bounced back. I do recognize that it's the fact I do a lousy job keeping my address book up-to-date, but with all application intelligence that surrounds us, that should not really be my burden. There's a ton of data in the cloud that knows my relationships and that data can be turned into an intelligent contact management application.
Plaxo, at one point ,had a legitimate chance at this but they screwed it up by turning themselves into spammers. Now the most likely candidates are Linkedin and Facebook, but neither really seems focused on this. I think there lies a huge opportunity.