Outlook transitioning to become a full web client on all platforms

Microsoft is building a universal Outlook client for Windows and Mac that will also replace the default Mail & Calendar apps on Windows 10 when ready. This new client is codenamed Monarch and is based on the already available Outlook Web app available in a browser today.

Project Monarch is the end-goal for Microsoft’s “One Outlook” vision, which aims to build a single Outlook client that works across PC, Mac, and the Web. Right now, Microsoft has a number of different Outlook clients for desktop, including Outlook Web, Outlook (Win32) for Windows, Outlook for Mac, and Mail & Calendar on Windows 10.

Microsoft is building a new Outlook app for Windows and Mac powered by the web | Windows Central

Conversation 15 comments

  • will

    Premium Member
    05 January, 2021 - 12:40 pm

    <p>Honestly they should have done this a few years back…but I am glad to see them doing something. My concern is that the way Microsoft does things, and has, is when it launches it will be only partially complete and it will have a continuous, never ending, cycle of updates that add missing items slowly.</p><p><br></p><p>Look at Outlook for the Mac, when launched over a year ago, and they still do not have basics such as Notes and Tasks in the app. Yes they update stuff and add things, but it will never end. I now fear that Outlook will become a subscription service that is always being updated and never complete. Plus, what happens to this brand new native client they have been working on for macOS? Just scrap it?</p><p><br></p><p>For some reason we have settled into this new model of software, just ship 60% complete and then it is a never ending set up updates.</p>

    • illuminated

      05 January, 2021 - 1:22 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#605776">In reply to will:</a></em></blockquote><p>I guess that it would make a lot of sense for MS to port Outlook to web platform. First they now have ChromeEdge which means that web version would work on multiple platforms on the same browser. Edge on Windows and Chrome everywhere else. Then Apple switching to ARM makes development on MacOS problematic as they need to develop both ARM and Intel versions. Windows on ARM maybe yet another version that needs some development effort. Finally I suspect that the current outlook is developed using C++ which is really inefficient language for UI development. By switching to "web" version Microsoft can increase their development speed and have the same codebase for all environments. </p>

  • bkkcanuck

    05 January, 2021 - 2:03 pm

    <p>I have never seen a web client for email I like… I like simple clients – focused in one task (maybe that can co-operate with other apps), but a full client on an OS is still much preferable.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    05 January, 2021 - 2:41 pm

    <p>Oh dear. That is the end of outlook for me. </p><p>At work it will not be allowed. Exchange is on site and the data is not allowed on the Web. </p><p>Likewise I have several accounts that aren't Microsoft accounts and they aren't going on a Web app run by Microsoft, at least not until US laws change to make it legal in Europe. </p>

    • anoldamigauser

      Premium Member
      05 January, 2021 - 3:38 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#605821">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>The desktop version is not going anywhere soon. The plan is to replace Mail and Calendar by 2022, Outlook desktop, long after that.</p><p>You will have some time to consider alternatives.</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        07 January, 2021 - 9:56 am

        Plus, this is Microsoft. They’ll never really kill the classic client.

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      05 January, 2021 - 11:53 pm

      <p><a href="https://www.thurrott.com/forums/microsoft/microsoft/thread/outlook-transitioning-to-become-a-full-web-client-on-all-platforms#605821&quot; target="_blank" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><em>In reply to wright_is:</em></a></p><blockquote><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">data is not allowed on the Web</span></blockquote><p>Semantics: doesn't ALL email from outside your company reach your Exchange servers through the web? Ditto for email from yourself and your colleagues destined for other organizations.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        06 January, 2021 - 4:31 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#605935">In reply to hrlngrv:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, but internal email (70% of our email) stays within the firewall. External has to transit to the destination, but it is <em>stored</em> on our Exchange, behind our firewall.</p>

  • phil_adcock

    05 January, 2021 - 3:48 pm

    <p>I have both a Macbook Pro (2019 ) and 2016 HP Special Edition laptop. I prefer to use Mac over Windows as it just seems to work better than my Windows OS does. I subscribed to O365 so I have both downloaded and set up Office on both devices. My employer is strictly windows and we use outlook to manager our email, however I prefer to use outlook on the Mac vs Windows vs. Web. Just my personal preference. </p>

  • minke

    05 January, 2021 - 7:28 pm

    <p>During the pandemic shutdown I had to quickly move to my remote home office, leaving behind my office Macs and other hardware. But, since I use Microsoft 365 I was able to login from home and use all the various web apps and I have found strangely I prefer them for the most part. Even though I am back in the office I rarely fire up regular Outlook, vastly preferring the web app. I have to use desktop Excel and Word more often because there are just some things that don't work well in the web apps, but overall they are surprisingly capable. For my own personal and small business use I have used nothing but online apps for the past 10 years–mostly Google and Microsoft. No need to update, purchase, install. Just sign in and go.</p>

  • bkkcanuck

    05 January, 2021 - 9:31 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#605917">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>No, to be quite honest I prefer Apple Mail with Fantastical better, but work uses Outlook. I would prefer outlook be refactored into simpler apps – but that is not going to happen.</p>

    • gregsedwards

      Premium Member
      06 January, 2021 - 11:34 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#605920">In reply to bkkcanuck:</a></em></blockquote><p>Here's the problem with app simplification…things end up working differently in one version of the app than in the others, leading to the kind of feature forking we're seeing now all over Outlook. And often it's completely arbitrary.</p><p>Look at something like the Snooze feature. It's a really simple way to defer email until later; it works by moving messages into a Snoozed folder until you the time you want to be reminded, and then it "re-delivers" the message back to your inbox at that time. The feature exists in the mobile versions of Outlook and OWA but not in desktop Outlook or Windows 10 Mail. Instead, desktop Outlook lets you flag email in such a way that you can get reminders. All the other apps let you set generic flags but those don't generate reminders. So users end up having to adopt completely different strategies for working simply based on which device they're using at the time. It's maddening.</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    06 January, 2021 - 4:40 am

    <p>I wonder if this is what people think it is. It could be that they bring the design of the web version forward and unify on that. does not mean it will be a PWA. could be React or electron as well. Or it could be that the feature set is standardise. I don't know, to me this is like all the long term goals at Microsoft, talking and planning is easy, deliver a product is hard. </p>

  • illuminated

    06 January, 2021 - 1:48 pm

    <p>After seeing how well VS Code works I am not surprised to see Microsoft moving toward cross platform UIs. </p>

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