Microsoft No Longer Developing Outlook Express

Thursday August 14th, 2003

Several people wrote in to tell us that Microsoft is not doing any new development work on Outlook Express, the company's free mail and newsgroups client, which is bundled with both Internet Explorer and Windows. The emphasis for home users will now be placed on Hotmail and MSN, while corporations will be reminded that they should have been using Outlook all along. Many MozillaZine readers have noted the opportunity that this presents for Mozilla Thunderbird, the Mozilla project's standalone mail and newsgroups program. While the first milestone of Thunderbird has only recently been released, the application is based on the mature codebase of the Mozilla Application Suite's Mail & Newsgroups component. Microsoft's cancellation of further Outlook Express development follows on from the company's announcement that it will offer no further upgrades to the standalone Windows version of Internet Explorer and its decision to end development of IE for Mac OS X.

Update: J. A. Prufrock wrote in to tell us that Microsoft is now saying Outlook Express will continue to be developed after all. Microsoft's about-turn in its public statements is nothing new: shortly after the news broke that there would be no further standalone versions of IE for Windows, the company stressed that it was in fact too early to discuss its long-term plans for the browser.

#11 Re: "It's a good thing"

by Tar

Thursday August 14th, 2003 3:39 PM

You are replying to this message

OE doesn't _totally_ suck. Having it in the hands of a clueless user can be dangerous because it's using IE to render mails but for a semi-poweruser OE has some useful features that MailNews/Thunderbird lacks and wont have in the near future:

bug 75866 - Viewing message for very short time shouldn't mark it as read

bug 30057 - Use one Local Mail tree for all POP3 accounts

bug 43278 - Crossposts (same Message-ID) not marked as read in other groups

Also (should be in bugzilla somewhere):

* No button and keyboard shortcut to perform send&receive of _all_ mail accounts that have "Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing" checkbox checked. Send/Recv button with dropdown of: "Send and Receive All" (default), "Receive All", "Send All", separator, individual accounts list...

* Only one signature per account, can't insert other signatures by simly goint to menu Insert -> Signatures -> ...

* Saving to drafts folder doesn't mark the draft as unread.

* Can't search for text in Newgroups posts body.

* Password can't be typed in on mail account creation.

To sum up, OE has its strenghts and weaknesses (more the later though) and MailNews/Thunderbird have theirs.