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.
This Mozillazine article isn't guilty of talking about killing, but the linked article is. By the same logic, you could say that Mozilla (Seamonkey) and Netscape are dead. What's stopping on IE and OE is new development. Most users don't care about new development (they care so little they don't even install important updates).
I think the amount of opportunity this creates is rather limited. Current IE/OE users won't dump it just because they won't be able to get a new version, and when Windows users get a new computer or whatever, they will still get Microsoft-provided email, it'll just be MSN instead of OE.