Microsoft Will Finally Try to Fix Its Outlook Problem

Posted on October 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Microsoft 365, Office, Office 365, with 60 Comments

Microsoft is finally taking steps to use a common architecture and user experiences across all Outlook clients on desktop, web, and mobile. The initiative is called One Outlook, and it is long overdue.

I’ve been complaining about this problem for many years, and about the irony of Microsoft’s premier Outlook client, Outlook for Windows, being the worst of the lot, with a bloated user interface and horrible performance. But it became particularly acute when Microsoft purchased Accompli and turned its mobile app into Outlook Mobile, which is arguably the single best Outlook experience today. I would love to use Outlook Mobile on Windows 10.

Well, maybe I’ll be able to soon, or at least a reasonable facsimile: Thanks to Tony Redmond, who covered this topic first on Petri and tipped me off to the relevant Ignite 2020 sessions—here and here—I now that Microsoft, finally, is going to try and fix its Outlook problem.

“We’re bringing all our Outlooks together,” Microsoft’s JJ Cadiz said in his The Evolution of Outlook session. “The different Outlooks were all built at different times and on different tech stacks. And one thing that is central to the evolution of Outlook is how we’re building toward a common architecture.”

There’s also a shared architecture for sync, called Microsoft Sync Technology, and the firm will be using web technologies like React for UI performance and sharing features across the Outlook family, he points out. Outlook on the web and already moved to React and now share a common UI and infrastructure that is perform much better than their predecessors and do so using less RAM.

The bad news? It appears that Microsoft’s solution for Windows isn’t a new application, which is desperately needed, but rather what it calls Outlook on the web Powered Experiences (OPX), which are literally web-based interfaces and functionality embedded in the existing Outlook client.

Anyone interested in testing the new Outlook(s) early are urged to join the Office Insider Program, where new features are rolled out first in pre-release form.

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