Microsoft’s Outlook management team has released a 37-minute video explaining the roadmap for transitioning from the original Outlook Win32 to the new Outlook for Windows, with a clear timeline expected in the next few years.
The reason behind Microsoft’s decision to create a new Outlook for Windows is that users on Windows had three different ways to access their emails in the past: Classic Outlook (Win32), the Mail & Calendar app, and web browser access. Each of these avenues offered different user experiences and features.
To consolidate these three options into one unified version of Outlook and streamline development and bug fixing processes, Microsoft decided to use a single codebase. This move will allow for faster development and bug fixes, reducing the time taken from months or years to just days or weeks.
Once the codebase consolidation is complete, Outlook’s vision is to become the ultimate “Hub for Me” The goal is to serve as a centralized communication hub that can be personalized to individual preferences, while also incorporating a range of AI features.
The new Outlook will introduce several new features that were previously only available on the web version and not in the Classic Outlook. However, the team acknowledges that there are still some important features yet to be incorporated, many of which are already planned. These include working offline, support for ICS calendar files, and the ability to create search folders.
Microsoft has already begun replacing the Mail & Calendar app with the new Outlook in the Windows Insider program. However, the transition from Classic Outlook to New Outlook has not yet been clearly defined. Currently, it is in the opt-in stage, where users must manually initiate the switch. In about a year, it will become the default client, but users will still have the option to switch back to the old version (opt-out). After another year, the old client will be fully deprecated, with Microsoft promising to provide at least a one-year advance notice for users to adapt to the change.
TLDR: Microsoft’s Outlook team is working on transitioning from the original Outlook Win32 to the new Outlook for Windows, aiming for a unified and streamlined user experience. The new Outlook will incorporate new features while aiming to become a personalized communication hub. The transition timeline is yet to be defined but is anticipated to happen in the next few years. Microsoft plans to provide users with adequate notice and options to adapt to the changes.