Outlook 98 promises smarts, free upgrade

Outlook 98 goes into beta 2 today with Microsoft promising to cut the ties that previously bound the e-mail/scheduler/contact application to the Office suite, and a free upgrade for current users.

Scheduled for availability in March or April 1998 at a price to be announced, Outlook 98 will be much faster than the current version and will add key features to make e-mail and other apps work together more smoothly, according to Microsoft.

In the mail client, a Rules Wizard provides automatic filtering and organisation of mail. To save time opening separate windows, incoming mail can also be read in a AutoPreview pane while any other messages can read in a PreviewPane mode. Also in e-mail, vote buttons can be more easily created and Outlook can also look after vote counting. Like Novell's GroupWise, mail messages can be recalled so long as the recipient has not opened them.

In the contact book, a Setup Wizard will import data from Netscape Messenger, Eudora and previous versions of Outlook.