Microsoft responds to Outlook criticism

Microsoft has responded to a campaign launched yesterday to convince the company to adopt standards-based email.

Microsoft responds to Outlook criticism

The controversy arose after Microsoft’s announcement that it would continue to use Word as the HTML rendering engine in the upcoming Outlook 2010 version.

In a petition, organised by the Email Standards Project (ESP), it was claimed this would make life harder for designers who work with HTML emails. More than 20,000 people have already signed the petition.

Microsoft’s email chief, William Kennedy, has responded to the criticism in a post on the Outlook blog.

“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,” he says.

“We understand that e-mail is about interoperability among various e-mail programs, and we believe that Outlook provides a good mix of a rich user experience and solid interoperability with a wide variety of other e-mail programs,” he adds.

However, the post has attracted 81 comments from readers, many of which continue to lash out at the company’s HTML plans, and criticise its lack of standards compliance.

“But what happens when someone sends me one of these rich emails if I have an email client other than Outlook/Word? Will it be compatible?” asks Gensho Sataka.

Reader James points out that Microsoft’s webmail service is more consistent with other applications.

“Sorry Microsoft you just don’t get it. Your rendering of email is so far off what every other client can do – including Hotmail/Windows Live Mail. If they can do it, inside a web browser with all their other bits and bobs, why can’t you?” he asks.

There is still a year before the final version of Outlook 2010 emerges, and the organisers and signatories of the petition remain keen to convince Microsoft to alter its plans.

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