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.

#46 Re: Re: killing

by AlexBishop <>

Friday August 15th, 2003 11:36 AM

You are replying to this message

"What is MSN Explorer exactly? I've never really understood where it stands when microsoft has and Internet Explorer"

The simplest (though perhaps not the most correct) answer is that the MSN software (it's not called MSN Explorer any more) is to MSN what the AOL software is to America Online.

MSN Explorer 6 (named because AOL was at that version at the time) came out in late 2000. It was available as a free download but required a Microsoft Passport (or an MSN Internet Access subscription) to use. It offered links to various MSN services, built in email via Hotmail and a My Sidebar rip-off called My Stuff (though it was arguably better). A minor update, 6.1, came out in early 2001 and shipped with Windows XP.

MSN Explorer 7 came out in late 2001 (the same time as AOL 7) and offered various improvements. It launched at the same time as Windows XP and the redesigned

The big change came when MSN 8 (not Explorer any more) came out in late 2002 (the same time as AOL 8). You have to subscribe to use it, either by using MSN Internet Access or paying an additional fee in addition to your ISP charges (this latter option is the only way to use the service in countries where MSN doesn't offer Internet access, such as the UK). MSN 8 is the most major upgrade to date with various improvements. The My Stuff bar has been renamed to the Dashboard (if you've ever seen a leaked Longhorn build, it has a similar feature). Here's a review <> which also has some details about MSN Explorer 6 and 7. An enhanced version of MSN 8 came out a couple of months ago <http://www.wininformant.c…Index.cfm?ArticleID=39208> (about the same time as AOL 8.5 Plus).

AOL 9 Optimized came out a couple of weeks ago, so MSN 9 must be on the way soon <>.

Something like that anyway.