Microsoft to build single Outlook client that works across platforms

David Matthews

Posts: 430   +83
Staff member
Why it matters: Microsoft is looking to simplify its Outlook apps by using a single client powered by the web. This would allow Microsoft to have a shared experience across platforms without having to deal with differing code bases. This also seems to be part of a larger initiative to revitalize the Microsoft brand to be amicable to all platforms.

Microsoft will eschew dedicated desktop apps for Outlook in lieu of a single client powered by the web, according to Windows Central. This is part of Microsoft's "One Outlook" initiative that seeks to unify Outlook regardless of platform. The effort is called Project Monarch and will look to replace all Microsoft email clients, including the default Windows Mail app.

Project Monarch will be built on a single codebase in order to simplify deployment across platforms. Windows Central says that Microsoft looks to have a single user experience and will be accessible to all customers, business and consumers.

While you can technically install Outlook as a Progressive Web App (PWA) now, it doesn't have all of the integrations that Monarch will have. For example, Monarch will include support for offline storage, notifications, and share targets. Microsoft wants to ensure that it feels "native" to each platform while still adhering to the same look and feel as the Outlook website.

Microsoft will start previewing Monarch towards the end of the year. The default Mail and Calendar apps are scheduled to be sunset next year with Monarch combining both functions into the one application. The company also has plans to sunset the Win32 Outlook application, but that will likely happen further out in the future due to the complexity of the app.

In the meantime, Windows Central states that the current Mail and Calendar apps are in "maintenance mode" and will get a slight UI change in line with Microsoft's planned "Sun Valley" design refresh for Windows 10 later this year.

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Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,587   +644
As long as you can locally cache your entire email archive (like you can with Outlook now), I'd probably be OK with the change. Force us to be constantly connected for accessing historical emails and files that are older, and I can guarantee our entire company will be looking for an alternative.
 

lipe123

Posts: 972   +560
To be fair the outlook desktop app is a nightmare. Even in office 365 it has tons of bugs and problems.

Constant pain in my behind to deal with outlook not sending email, not syncing properly, unable to pin messages like in the web app, unable to map mailboxes properly.

Really the best option is to nuke outlook desktop and start from scratch!
Hopefully they will make something that works better and does not have 400 000 options and menus to do the smallest thing.
 

Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,587   +644
Why do you think Microsoft is doing this? This is the company that tried to make the Xbone always online until literally their entire customer base revolted over it.

Indeed, and they just never seem to learn from their past mistakes. Talk about living in a world with blinders on, and only seeing one path no matter what is really out there in the world!

It's already a struggle to resist their heavy-handed push to the Office 365 platform. Our company still thumbs their nose at it and buys standard Office licenses with each PC we get, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before even that option disappears forever...
 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +730
Just know this is a support nightmare for the Enterprise. Users don't like online apps at all they find them cumbersome unintuitive and restrictive. There's a reason office remains the number one and productivity applications across large businesses instead of Google g suite, that's because most corporate employees absolutely hate website based apps.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 982   +1,423
Just know this is a support nightmare for the Enterprise. Users don't like online apps at all they find them cumbersome unintuitive and restrictive. There's a reason office remains the number one and productivity applications across large businesses instead of Google g suite, that's because most corporate employees absolutely hate website based apps.
It's not just that because, to management, they don't care what employees hate or don't hate, they'll make them use what makes cost sense. Online apps are privacy and data nightmares, and while corporations are more than happy to gamble ours, it's a different story when it comes to their own data and intellectual property. Coincidentally this is also why Microsoft is so keen on it, so they can become Facebook for the world's corporations.
 
I don't agree with these changes, but this has been happening for a while - making desktop web/javascript apps instead of native Win32/64 apps.

Microsoft correctly predicted a while back that the cloud is the future, even as they burnt years of money and losses in their cloud business doing so.

Many MS apps are now web front-ends, from Visual Studio Code, Skype, Teams, to even the Win10 Store and the Settings app for Windows itself, etc.

If you want to revolt, then revolt against the kiddy script developers behind Electron / Node.js, and React.js, etc, who are enablers of this stupid trend.

It's pretty ridiculous that the same software today is much slower that that which ran on 486 and Pentium 2 processors! And that's all thanks to kiddy Javascript devs.
The only reason many people don't realise it is because of super-fast processors and single-threaded speeds, as well as SSD/PCIe drives.

There's a reason for the switch to web apps, and it also shows that sadly Microsoft really doesn't care about its user base, because they know their users have no choice - there is no alternative to Windows. Linux is still a joke as long as all devs are in-fighting and forking projects and there's no central management or oversight and central vision - the closest Linux came to desktop was the Canonical company and Ubuntu.

People need to remember Microsoft is a capitalist company, all they care about is profit and as much money as possible - and insular / closed-data Windows is NOT the way.
The way to make money is like Google/Amazon, to have web apps (front-ends) which store all data in Microsoft's cloud, this enables them (like Google/Amazon) to exploit people's data, to sell it, to analyse people's behaviour (which may enable them to conquer Facebook/Twitter/TikTok in the future), and to have as large a monopoly as possible.

As mentioned, the way to achieve that is through web apps, and slowly transforming Windows into a web OS, so Microsoft can finally realise their dream of conquering Mobiles and any future architectures (ARM / RISC-V / etc) that come about.

It will be interesting to see how they switch DirectX to web-based framework (or perhaps a C# framework).
 
Further to my post, Windows 10 is also proof of their direction to webify their OS, so they can conquer people's data and all platforms.

Microsoft realised that too many people pirated Windows, they were thus only making money from businesses. As a capitalist company, this isn't enough, and you need to exploit every single person.

The way to do that is like Amazon/Google through cloud data, analysing people, their behaviour, to conquer the ad platform, to conquer multiple hardware platforms (inc mobile), and to sell apps (look how successful the App Store and Play Store is) and perhaps make Windows into a subscription model - anyone who doesn't get on board will risk bricking their device in the future.

This also explains why Win10 is still free - because once you are on board, and locked into their updates, there is no way out. Obviously this will become even more difficult in future as people and businesses begin storing and getting locked into Microsoft's cloud.

It's pretty evil, but clever what Microsoft is doing.
 

mrtraver

Posts: 494   +253
So I wonder how well this will fly with hospitals and other organizations that deal with HIPAA and protected health information. There are pretty detailed and strict rules involved with cloud storage and security of data transmissions.
 

Biostud

Posts: 58   +23
A Outlook definitely needs an overhaul. I've had lots of problems with encrypted emails and certificates that did not work properly.
 

Lounds

Posts: 900   +801
Further to my post, Windows 10 is also proof of their direction to webify their OS, so they can conquer people's data and all platforms.

Microsoft realised that too many people pirated Windows, they were thus only making money from businesses. As a capitalist company, this isn't enough, and you need to exploit every single person.

The way to do that is like Amazon/Google through cloud data, analysing people, their behaviour, to conquer the ad platform, to conquer multiple hardware platforms (inc mobile), and to sell apps (look how successful the App Store and Play Store is) and perhaps make Windows into a subscription model - anyone who doesn't get on board will risk bricking their device in the future.

This also explains why Win10 is still free - because once you are on board, and locked into their updates, there is no way out. Obviously this will become even more difficult in future as people and businesses begin storing and getting locked into Microsoft's cloud.

It's pretty evil, but clever what Microsoft is doing.
This is why all my installs of Windows 10 have local accounts not microsoft online accounts.
 

bazz2004

Posts: 1,766   +295
Outlook seems OK to me. What I can't understand is why sometimes an email I'm expecting doesn't arrive but turns up in W10 Mail instead. This often happens when I use a website contact form. The Mail app seems pretty good to me so why not polish it up and drop Outlook altogether? It seems to be upsetting rather a lot of people. Maybe it isn't part of Microsoft's international conspiracy to take over the world and mine our personal data but rather a piece of software getting past its sell by date.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 145   +58
A monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis and we don't have to worry ever again about all those squirming nasty caterpillars hatched in Redmond over the years. Let's also pay homage to the once very useful but dead caterpillars like Outlook Express, as the Microsofties never seem to know which and how many email eggs to lay.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 145   +58
Outlook seems OK to me. What I can't understand is why sometimes an email I'm expecting doesn't arrive but turns up in W10 Mail instead. This often happens when I use a website contact form. The Mail app seems pretty good to me so why not polish it up and drop Outlook altogether? It seems to be upsetting rather a lot of people. Maybe it isn't part of Microsoft's international conspiracy to take over the world and mine our personal data but rather a piece of software getting past its sell by date.

What's not to understand? It's Microsoft.