Why another Outlook for Windows is coming

Windows Mail and Calendar apps will be replaced with the ‘new’ Outlook.  That means a second ‘Outlook for Windows’ and plenty of confusion for customers and support people.  Microsoft made this mistake before and seem determined to do it again.

This ‘new’ Outlook is a Progressive Web App (PWA) formerly known as ‘Project Monarch’.  It’s very different ‘under the hood’ from the current Outlook for Windows. 

Changing to a single app has problems itself but the BIG issue is Microsoft’s insistence on calling all the apps just “Outlook” not “Outlook Light” or some other clear label.

Source: JerryNixon on Twitter.

‘New’ Outlook is available as an option for Office Insiders even though it still lacks core features, most notably offline support and also how it connects to non-Microsoft mailboxes (see Privacy Trap in the new Outlook for Windows)

Replacing the Windows Mail and Calendar apps with ‘new’ Outlook won’t start until September 2024, according to the current timetable.

Two or more “Outlook for Windows”

When that happens, it’ll be a nightmare for customers and Microsoft Support because there’ll be two ‘Outlook for Windows’.  Same name but quite different software.

Microsoft persists in talking about just ‘Outlook’ for all their mail related software and services.  It might make sense to Microsoft marketing but it’s a nightmare for everyone else.

Most people will, understandably, not know the difference between the different “Outlook for Windows”:

  • the purchased Outlook software that comes with a Microsoft 365 plan, Office 2021, Office 2019, Office 2016 and earlier.
  • Outlook in a browser which some people think of as Outlook software.

Add to that mix next year:

  • ‘new’ Outlook for Windows, quite different from the purchased Outlook software.

So there’ll be at least two “Outlook for Windows” in late 2024 both that Microsoft will call “Outlook”.

It gets worse because ‘new’ Outlook is meant to be ‘cross platform’. That means that it might also work on Mac computers at some stage, and then there’ll be two “Outlook for Mac”!

Remember Outlook Express?

Microsoft made this mistake before with “Outlook Express” that came with Windows until 2001.

Many customers and support people wasted untold thousands of hours mixing up “Outlook Express” with “Outlook for Windows”.  They’d ask for help or web search for “Outlook” or “Outlook for Windows” only to get misleading tips for the wrong software.

Wikipedia says about Outlook Express and Outlook for Windows …

“The two programs do not share a common codebase, but they do share a common architectural philosophy. The similar names lead many people to conclude incorrectly that Outlook Express is a stripped-down version of Microsoft Outlook.”

You can say the same thing about ‘new’ Outlook and Outlook for Windows. The two programs might look similar but their underlying code is very different.

Either Microsoft has forgotten the ‘Outlook Express’ debacle or, more likely, just don’t care.

Privacy Trap in the new Outlook for Windows
New Outlook now available to all