Microsoft’s new Outlook email client for Windows, the so-called “One Outlook” project the company has been working on for some time, appears to be almost ready for prime time. Some users were able to download the new app, as first spotted by Windows Central, although it seems to only work for work and education accounts at the moment. Those who can get in find…well, that’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect.
We’ve long heard that the future of Microsoft’s email clients will look a lot like the Outlook web app, and indeed the new app appears 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 email application that is also slated to eventually replace it. 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’s new One Outlook email client has leaked. This is a web-based version that will eventually replace the built-in mail application on Windows and even Win32 Outlook itself. I expect a public beta to Build and a full Outlook replacement in a few years. Image: Temmie pic.twitter.com/6c3aqxC7L9
—Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 6, 2022
“We appreciate the excitement around our upcoming update and will have more to share in the weeks to come,” said Scott Stiles, vice president of product management for Outlook. The edge in a report. “The version available for download is an unsupported early test version of Outlook for Windows and is missing some of the features and enhancements that will be available to our beta testers. We encourage our customers to wait for the beta to be released .
The app was supposed to be in testing in 2021, with plans to eventually replace other clients this year. Now, it seems likely that Microsoft will officially announce the new app at its Build developer conference at the end of this month and replace Mail, Calendar, and possibly other versions of Outlook thereafter. As for how it works? 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 shells for web apps have a bit of a spotty track record. But with Microsoft’s longstanding push for Progressive Web Apps, it looks like the future is coming one way or another.
The transition won’t be easy as many Outlook users have a long history with how the app has worked, and a sparser, cleaner web app-based experience will feel like a huge departure. Which means, at least for a while, Microsoft will likely continue to offer multiple versions of Outlook to users. Its path forward, however, is clear: in the future, there will be only one prospect. And it starts with the web.
Updated May 6, 9:00 p.m. ET: Updated with Microsoft’s comment.