Sunday, June 26, 2022

Microsoft’s New ‘One Outlook’ Windows App Starts Leaking

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Microsoft’s new Outlook email client for Windows, the so-called “One Outlook” project that the company has been working on for a while, seems almost ready for prime time. Some users were able to download the new app first spotted by Windows Central, although it currently seems to only work for work and education accounts. Those who can enter will find… well, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

We’ve long heard that the future of Microsoft’s email clients would look a lot like the Outlook web app, and indeed, the new app seems to be just that. It’s much lighter and simpler than previous versions of Outlook for Windows and much more powerful than the built-in Mail app that it will eventually replace as well. The app is also hosted entirely online as Microsoft continues to move its services to the web rather than running them exclusively as native apps. (Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.)

The app is reportedly set to be tested in 2021, with plans to eventually replace the other clients this year. Now it seems likely that Microsoft will officially announce the new app at the Build developer conference at the end of this month, replacing Mail, Calendar, and eventually other versions of Outlook after that. As for how it performs? We’ll have to wait until we can get our hands on the new app to see, but it’s safe to say that desktop apps that act as web app shells have a bit of a spotty history. But with Microsoft’s long-standing pursuit of Progressive Web Apps, it looks like the future will come one way or another.

The transition won’t be easy, as so many Outlook users have a long history of how the app has worked, and an experience based on the sparse, cleaner web app will be a huge departure. Which means Microsoft will likely keep multiple versions of Outlook available to users, at least for a while. However, the path forward is clear: in the future there will only be One Outlook. And it starts with the internet.

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