In the early days of PCs and the Internet, Microsoft conquered not only the productivity space with its Office suite but even the now-passé Personal Information Management or PIM market with Outlook. Today, Microsoft Outlook is almost like a distant memory and its disparate and disjointed versions on different platforms aren’t doing it any favors. Microsoft apparently hasn’t given up yet in trying to reclaim that prestige and is now working to make a new version of Outlook the only version for both Web, Macs, and especially Windows 10 PCs.
Despite being Microsoft’s premier email, calendaring, and contacts management platform, Outlook ironically isn’t the default solution pre-installed on Windows 10. That spot belongs to the Mail and Calendar app picture below that, despite numerous iterations, remains a hassle to use, not to mention inconsistent with the only version you can use on the Web, which is, well, Outlook Web.
Microsoft is now reportedly fixing that discrepancy by pretty much kicking out Mail and Calendar in the future. Under the codenamed “Project Monarch”, the company is reportedly implementing its “One Outlook” plan by creating a single version of Outlook that will work on both the Web and desktops. That practically means turning Outlook Web into something of a Progressive Web App, a.k.a. a PWA, which happens to be Microsoft’s general strategy these days.
According to Windows Central, this new Outlook for Windows and macOS will offer the same experience as the Web version with a few additional features to make them feel and behave like native apps. That means offline storage and notifications, for starters, as well as integration with the underlying operating system’s notifications. The app may be lighter in comparison to Mail and Calendar and will support both consumer and commercial Outlook accounts.
This won’t be happening anytime soon, though, as Microsoft isn’t planning on even releasing a preview version until later this year. A bit more disappointing is that the win32 version of Outlook won’t be retired for an even longer time until the Web app gains enough features to replace it.