Outlook 2007 – Part I: Might look nice, but talk about taking 2 steps back?

January 15, 2007

Outlook 2007

From Onedegree.ca :
Microsoft’s latest decision has the email marketing industry foaming at the mouth.

Outlook up until now has used the Internet Explorer engine to render HTML within email. But next month, when Outlook 2007 is released, IE rendering will be gone to be replaced by ….

Microsoft Word.

That’s right! Word’s appropriately infamous HTML rendering engine will now be the default for Outlook. For those of you who aren’t acquainted with the finer points of HTML rendering, it’s sort of like going from using Windex to wash your windows to a slightly grubby washcloth.

The reaction has already been extensive, and not positive. Campaign Monitor goes into great details about the changes , with an accompanying fury of comments from aggravated users.

How are you planning to adjust your campaigns as a result? My team tells me that we have been using inline CSS for a while, but the last thing that beleaguered legitimate, permission-based email marketers need is another complication in getting their messages read.


Great, and here I was waiting, hoping that the next big announcement out of the Microsoft camp (and specifically Outlook 2007) was the introduction of rich media email capabilities – allowing recipients to actually join the online video craze without actually leaving their inbox. Add to that roster podcasting, vidcasting, and possibly some javascript, and you have a whole new ballgame for internet marketers. I’m fully aware of the kind of repercussions enabling rich email would have on postmasters and deliverability systems for a while, but hey, aren’t we used to Microsoft and the other big guys simply making a decision and all of us are stuck having to run around like lemmings to catch up? (If not, please, re-read above).

I’m waiting and hoping someone realizes the potential of rich media email and comes out with something, anything, to get the wheels turning. The thought of Hotmail 10 years ago, and the way it revolutionized the entire email scenario (I still have my hotmail account I made back in ’97) is exactly the type of thing someone else needs to do, but this time with marketed ‘rich email’ functionalities. Someone needs to be the gorilla in the room and be bold, be different, and see what happens. Maybe this is my calling?


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