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 have been able to download the new app, as first noticed 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.)
Microsoft’s new One Outlook email client has been leaked. It is a web version that will eventually replace the built-in Mail app on Windows and even win32 Outlook itself. I expect a public beta on Build and a full replacement of Outlook in a few years. Image: Temmie pic.twitter.com/6c3aqxC7L9
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 6, 2022
“We appreciate the excitement for our next update and will have more to share in the coming weeks,” said Scott Stiles, vice president of product management for Outlook. The edge in a statement. “The version available for download is an early unsupported test version of Outlook for Windows and lacks some of the features and improvements that will be available to our beta testers. We encourage our customers to wait for the beta to be released.”
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.
Update May 6, 9:00 PM ET: Updated with comments from Microsoft.