Beware the new Outlook for Windows

Microsoft has released a new Outlook for Windows which is so limited that we feel it’s necessary to warn people about trying to use it. Beware! Even for Insiders on the ‘beta’ channel this new Outlook is no replacement for the real Windows version of Outlook – not even close.

As usual, Microsoft pushes the new features and downplays the limitations of this new Outlook. But even when mentioning limitations, Microsoft can’t bring itself to be completely honest with their customers.

Source: Microsoft

As you’d expect, we’ll be looking closely at this new Outlook but for the moment is so unhappy about this development and it’s misleading promotion, we wanted to warn our readers.

Whenever we mention the New Outlook, some people get understandably concerned that their familiar Outlook for Windows is being radically changed. As Douglas Adams taught us “Don’t Panic”.
The existing Outlook for Windows isn’t going away anytime soon. If Microsoft tried to kill or “deprecate” the current Outlook for Windows they’d get a tsunami of complaints from their paying customers (our emphasis on “paying” to remind Microsoft of their obligation to the people who pay them, something the company sometimes forgets).

Why a warning about the Outlook for Windows?

This new “Outlook” is completely different program!

It’s not a different “look and feel” on the familiar Outlook technology we’ve been using for well over a decade.

It’s really the much rumored “Project Monarch” that we’ve mentioned before. A web app that uses browser technologies (Javascript, CSS etc) to work even though it looks like a separate program.

That means the new Outlook is starting from scratch and any features in the current Outlook have to be recreated in the new web app. That’s a huge task, perhaps impossible, or at least not economically viable for Microsoft.

Hence our warning. Not only is the new Outlook for Windows ‘beta’ test software, it’s an entirely new program.

In our opinion, this new Outlook should not have been released as a ‘switch’ alternative to the Outlook for Windows. There are too many fundamental differences and crucial limitations to justify that.

Instead it should have been released to Insiders as an alternative that could run alongside real Outlook for Windows.

Two huge and undisclosed problems

There are two BIG problems with the new Outlook for Windows either of them will be ‘deal breakers’ for many people.

Only one Microsoft hosted mailbox

Microsoft indirectly admits that, for the moment, the new Outlook for Windows only supports Microsoft business or education hosted mailboxes — not even

What they don’t admit is that the current beta release only supports ONE mailbox! That vital problem is only disclosed when the switchover is almost complete.

New Outlook only “supports a single Microsoft 365 work or school account”

In the final dialog before changing to the new Outlook, customers finally learn the bad news … “supports a single Microsoft 365 work or school account”.

That will presumably change over time but it’s a major problem even for a beta release — no wonder Microsoft doesn’t talk about it.

NO offline support

As we’ve already mentioned, this New Outlook does not work without a good Internet connection. Not even the limited default caching in the existing Outlook for Windows or Mac.

Without offline support this New Outlook isn’t worth considering. Maybe in Microsoft’s fantasyland everyone has cheap, fast and 100% reliable Internet access everyone, but that’s not the reality even in well-resourced locations.

Another name change “New Outlook”

Finally a note about another name change for this Outlook web app.

It’s internal name was “Project Monarch“.

Then it was labelled “One Outlook“.

Now it’s called “New Outlook” with two capital letters.

We’ll have a lot more on this New Outlook but, for the moment, we suggest NOT trying out this beta software. Many Insiders won’t qualify because their mailboxes aren’t compatible or they need more than one mailbox.

What’s in New Outlook for customers?

Keep in mind that this New Outlook isn’t really intended to provide better software for paying customers. Sure, there’s new features but existing Outlook abilities might not appear in the new software (they are certainly missing from the current beta).

The New Outlook is about Microsoft corporate strategies of making cross-platform apps and greatly reducing their development costs. Customers needs are secondary to Microsoft’s demands.

Project Monarch or One Outlook to rule them all
Project Monarch is now called just Outlook
First look at the new Microsoft Outlook – One Outlook
Too many Microsoft Outlook’s – we explain them all