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Microsoft: Outlook is Not “Broken”

Microsoft Office LogoMicrosoft has officially put the kibosh on any effort to get the company to ditch the Word rendering engine for HTML based e-mails in Outlook 2010. Over 20,000 twitterers have taken up a call by fixoutlook.org to call on the Redmond company to switch — but the company isn’t having any of it.

“We’ve made the decision to continue to use Word for creating e-mail messages because we believe it’s the best e-mail authoring experience around, with rich tools that our Word customers have enjoyed for over 25 years. Our customers enjoy using a familiar and powerful tool for creating e-mail, just as they do for creating documents. Word enables Outlook customers to write professional-looking and visually stunning e-mail messages,” said the Outlook team in a blog post Wednesday.

The company also goes on to say there is no standard for HTML in e-mail. It does not address however the evidence that Word rendering is faulty, as shown by Fix Outlook’s comparison of an email in Outlook 2000 and 2010. The rendering in 2010 is frankly horrid.

I’m not sure this is a battle that Microsoft can truly win here. With HTML e-mail now all but a de facto standard in an age of advanced e-mail clients, using a word processor to render it seems almost backwards in thinking.

Microsoft’s refusal to budge also opens the doors to competitors, notably Mozilla, to capitalize on. Remember the last time the company failed to listen to users that one of its products wasn’t up to snuff? An upstart browser captured a quarter of the market.

What do you think? Who’s right here?


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