Microsoft: Outlook's not broken and we aren't 'fixing' it

There are still more than a few Outlook users who are hoping against hope that an online campaign might result in Microsoft backtracking with Outlook 2010 and going back to HTML rendering as the default in its e-mail program. Microsoft's response: Outlook isn't broken and Outlook 2010 will include the Word rendering engine, just like Outlook 2007 does.

Microsoft's decision to change the rendering engine in its Outlook mail client from HTML to the Word rendering engine back in 2007 wasn't one of its most popular moves. In fact, there are still more than a few Outlook users who are hoping against hope that an online campaign might result in Microsoft backtracking with Outlook 2010 and going back to HTML rendering.

Microsoft's response: Outlook isn't broken and Outlook 2010 will include the Word rendering engine, just like Outlook 2007 does.

The Outlook team posted its response to the Twitter-based campaign designed to convince the company to go back to the HTML rendering default on the Outlook Team blog on June 24. From that post:

"First, while we don’t yet have a broadly-available beta version of Microsoft Office 2010, we can confirm that Outlook 2010 does use Word 2010 for composing and displaying e-mail, just as it did in Office 2007. 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."

The post, authored by William Kennedy. Corporate Vice President of the Office Communications and Forms Team, goes on to say that there is no consensus in the industry around which subset of HTML would be appropriate for e-mail. He blogged:

"There is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability. The 'Email Standards Project' does not represent a sanctioned standard or an industry consensus in this area. Should such a consensus arise, we will of course work with other e-mail vendors to provide rich support in our products."

Microsoft reiterated the reasons it moved from HTML to Word for e-mail rendering in athis white paper.

What do you say, Outlook users? Do you think Microsoft is right in sticking with Word as the default e-mail rendering engine for Outlook 2010?

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