back to article Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

Microsoft has announced that it will make updates to Windows 8's built-in Mail, Calendar, and People apps available via the Windows Store beginning on Tuesday, March 26. "This update will bring improvements to your Windows experience across your whole life – your personal communication and your work," Brandon LeBlanc of the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, interesting...

    I don't recall seeing any news items every time Gmail, Currents, Google Calendar or Google+ get updated, and android has like a billion times more users than Windows 8....

    What gives?

    Why not talk about the REALLY good Google+ Android and iOS app updates that came out today??

    1. MattEvansC3

      Re: Hmm, interesting...

      Considering the last major announced update for Google Calender was the removal of support for the open format CalDev in favour of their own proprietary API a few short weeks after MS announced they would be including support for it in its products to better sync with Google products, its probably a good thing Google's updates aren't reported on more often.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Hmm, interesting...

      They added a nice shiney features, like folders for emails (Which we've only had on everything for like forever), but I still don't want to downgrade to Windows 3.1 version 2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm, interesting...

        I just checked and the current version of the mail app does support folders...

  2. Down not across Silver badge

    "improvements to your Windows experience across your whole life"

    Hardly. My life does not revolve around windows. Yeah sure it exists in corporate environment. That is work, not life. As for non-work, its something Steam runs on.

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      1. t20racerman

        Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

        Why the downvotes? Is this just because people always seem to downvote Eadon?

        Just for the record, I teach Physics in a very nice school and as an IT enthusiast I I know that 'the kids' think pretty much exactly what Eadon says. They used to have mostly Blackberry or Apple phones, but now Android is huge. They have iPads and Galaxy Tabs, but in the past year - NOT ONE TEENAGER I TEACH - has ever had a Windows phone, or a Windows tablet. A 14 year old came in with his new Windows 8 laptop recently and the other kids actually took the p**s out of him for having Windows 8 (which he said he absolutely hated)

        Several of the most IT savvy kids prefer Apple, but a surprising amount are using Linux - including one 14 year old I teach who has his own server running Ubuntu which he host games on for his mates.

        Windows is seen, by the young and IT savvy as an old dinosaur. For those who have never seen an alternative though, Windows is just seen as "what a computer is" - and as they get more and more exposure to iOS, OSX, Android, Linux etc, they will probably join their friends in rejected the bloated, insecure offering that is Windows.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

          Yeah, kids tend to be very reliable when it comes to making informed IT choices based on fair evaluation of the art as a whole and not on personal whim (just like Eadon), err, wait...

          Case in point - My neighbour's daughter was taking the piss the other day about my Windows phone, she said it was hard to use and not very friendly, etc. etc., then had to admit she'd never even seen one. I unlocked it for her so she could see it and she managed to start playing a game within about five seconds.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

            Yes. I'm afraid that kids' opinions on tech are heavily coloured by the outpourings of rampant bell-ends on the internet. But they sound sooooooo cool in a "sticking it to the man" way, so they must be right.

            There's a reason why twelve year olds aren't allowed to vote, drive, etc. It's 'cos their decision making processes are in need of a few more years of development before being capable of making an informed decision independantly.

            Next week: One Direction are musically more talented than Mozart, because Sally in class 5B said so.

            1. t20racerman

              Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

              The pupils I teach are all aged 14 to 18 and your snidy remarks show your ignorance of how the teenagers of today really do set the trends of the future. Which age group popularised Blackberry (outside of the office environment) when they realised its messaging suited their needs perfectly? Which age group were the early adopters of Android and whose demand boosted Android far beyond initial expectations? They love iPhones too although the pupils I teach tend to Jailbreak their Apple phones because they hate iOS restrictions - not because they can then download free/dodgy apps. They love Android as its 'cool' and Blackberry for its messaging. I meet enthusiasts for them all - but Windows IS seen as old hat that their parent's use at work or their Granny shows her photos on.

              You can dismiss them as much as you want with cheap insults, but I can tell you one thing for certain, they have open minds, don't swallow bullshit and WILL determine the IT of the future.

              1. mmeier

                Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

                And 12 month from now they love <cool thing x> and <hip stuff y>. Teenagers are about as stable as old, sweaty dynamite on the back of a truck racing down a jungle road.

                1. t20racerman

                  Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

                  Ypu really are a sneering ignorant git. If that is your opinion of teenagers, you really do know nothing. What exactly is your point anyway - that teenagers swap from one thing to another randomly, so therefore they will all stay with Microsoft forever???? How does that work?

                  Actually, boring idiots who have only ever used Windows are the sad ones; they've tried nothing new, and WON'T try something new despite it probably being better suited for their needs.

                  1. mmeier

                    Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

                    Hmm, let me see (Just the once I wrote software/did admin work on)

                    Netware 3.x

                    ORG/M Real time OS on SICOM Systems

                    ONX (x86 version)

                    Sun OS 4.x on Sparc Station

                    SOLARIS since version 11

                    Various Linux since Kernel 0.9x (evaluation use, typically against SOLARIS)

                    SCO Unix

                    MS-DOS since 2.11

                    Win/DOS since 2,x

                    Win/NT since 3.51

                    OS/2 (all versions)

                    Interactive Unix


                    ATARI TOS

                    Step5 and Step7 (MPC)

                    Android 2/3/4

                    Yup, never used anything except Windows in the last 25 years - NOT!

                    1. mmeier

                      Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

                      Correction: Solaris since version 8! not11

          2. David Simpson 1

            Re: MS Experience - that means suffering, right?

            cOOL STORY BRO.

    2. hplasm

      "improvements to your Windows experience across your whole life"

      Only if I didn't have to use it.

      Mr LeBlanc talks some utter donkeyballs.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      That is work, not life.

      Work is a subset of life. A fairly important one as it takes 50%+ of your waking hours.

      1. hplasm

        Re: That is work, not life.

        "improvements to your Windows experience"

        I draw your attention to the above, and restate- the only improvement would be it's absence.

  3. Simon Harris

    Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

    When I saw the heading I thought they must be resurrecting Hyperterminal!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

      No, that'll be Windows 9… dumps you into this big full-screen HyperTerminal window with a prompt that looks like this:


      and you type commands to launch applications. :-)

    2. southpacificpom

      Re: Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

      I actually thought it may be Clippy getting a revival.

      "It looks like your trying to write an operating system..."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

      I actually run Hyperterminal on W8 in order to communicate with my arduino stuff, the version from XP works just fine if you copy the .dll and .exe.

      It's loss from the OS proper is a shame.

      1. richard 7

        Re: Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

        Use ZOC, it doesnt actually suck.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "bring the Windows Store messaging apps up to the standard of Outlook"

    The expression "Damning with faint praise" comes to mind...

    1. Mephistro

      Re: "bring the Windows Store messaging apps up to the standard of Outlook"

      Well... If you consider "the standard of Outlook" to be a praise, then you are right. Me, I think it's more of a 'libel'.

      1. Quxy

        I believe that the original idiom...

        ...serves as the semiofficial motto of El Reg writers:

        Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,

        And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;

        Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,

        Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

        -- Alexander Pope (1734)

      2. Eenymeeny

        Re: "bring the Windows Store messaging apps up to the standard of Outlook"

        Possibly because you don't own Outlook and Taskline (

        1. Quxy

          Outlook and Taskline

          I am obliged to make heavy use of Outlook 2007, and as you imply, its integrated calendar and scheduling features are pretty decent. But even Taskline isn't going to stop this bloated monstrosity from crashing twice a day, or fix its infamously broken line wrapping, or bring back RFC2822 email quoting that (mostly) worked until its editor was replaced with Word. So, as for so many other users, Outlook has been sidelined into a role as a glorified calendar, while I've switched to a more modern, well-behaved MUA for regular email.

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Outlook and Taskline

            I can't even remember Outlook crashing and I use it 8 hours a day...

            1. mmeier

              Re: Outlook and Taskline

              Neither Outlook/Exchange nor Notes/Domino have any problems on a decently setup system since the days of XP and IIRC Office 2003. Very low memory can cause lags in Outlook and crashes in Notes (The SWT part most likeky), Outlook does not like "shakey" network connections (or extremly long lags) and nags for username/password. But thats it. Works even if some genius puts the AD server on the other side of the pond...

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    1. Quxy

      MS paying Canonical to suck almost as badly as itself?

      No, Mark Shuttleworth has demonstrated that he can do that quite well by himself, thank you very much.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

      You know, I would pay Microsoft extra money to remove the Microsoft app store from Windows 8. Or at least swap it for the Windows 8 Pro Pack/ Media Center.

      And why do I need the OS as a shop front? I can get digital downloads of software from various official sites or Steam. Why should Microsoft be the middle man and gatekeeper?

      I think this insidious trend of the OS as a shop front runs in parallel to another nefarious trend: the move towards dumbed down, touch-centric casual games with the developers seeking to monetize every little perk they can find. Freemiums and DLCs. No wonder the quality of gaming has dropped in recent years.

      1. Eenymeeny

        Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

        I bought Manifest Destiny from the Windows 8 store on my tablet/hybrid.

        A great game whose author - whose name I actually *know* - Kasper J. Jeppesen then published a super update some 6 days later.

        But sure, those $2 I shelled out are really hurting me. Beans on toast for a week! And the guys from Microsoft that came round and held a gun to my head while I completed the purchase online, that was bad, too.

        But of course, it's much better to spend your entire waking life in a virtual universe than just idle away 15 minutes on a "touch-centric casual game" before getting on with the real world. I really do miss that.

        And if you think DLC is crap, you really should download Steam and have look. I recommend Defense Grid.

        Oh sorry - it might be a bit too "casual " for you...

    3. mmeier

      Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

      Strange again what happens in the Gnulivers. Meanwhile in the real world:

      + Nobody is forcing me to use the Modern apps

      + Nobody is forcing me to use the Appstore (or register with MS)

      + The MS apps are free

      + Linux has been doing almost the same and calls it "Repository" and "great idea"

      Besides Appstores and updates are common in iOS, Fragmentdroid and quite a few other operationg systems that have market shares in the two digit range

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

        > + Nobody is forcing me to use the Modern apps

        Microsoft would like to, that is why TIFKAM is compulsory on Windows 8 and is the only thing on RT.

        > + The MS apps are free

        I suppose that you think 'Windows is free' because it came with the computer. The MS Apps that are 'free' are merely included in the price that you paid for Windows 8/RT.

        > + Linux has been doing almost the same and calls it "Repository" and "great idea"

        The various distro's repositories are not the _only_ way to get software installed, while MS wants their store to be the only way* to install 'modern' apps.

        * yes you can buy an enterprise server and set up your own store as long as it is only for machines within your enterprise.

        1. mmeier

          Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

          Can't say about RT, don't care for toys. But I CAN say for Win8/x86 that there is ABSOLUTELY no problem installing software from other sources.

          As for the immense 10€ price of Windows - I will survive that. Yup 10€ is the average money I would get back from an OEM these days (was 25€ a few years back but is lower now)

          Modern is not compulsory. All Win7 / Vista / XP compatible programs run fine on the desktop. And if you absolutely dislike Modern as a start screen even that can be fixed. I see no need / benefit in this but YMMV

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: MS shows the sheep, er Windows users, the abattoir, er, MS Store

      But you force your users to use your "App Store" to get them.

      If you want a spittle-flecked rant about that. try directing your invective at those who started it and made it such a phenomenal success that Joe Sheep expects that way of doing things, so everyone else was forced to follow suit.


      Then again, maybe I'm being unfair to Apple? Which operating system is it that's invariably come with all the "official" addon software available from one central repository for many years now? Can't remember.......begins with "L"......

  6. Anonymous Coward

    First impressions are what count.

    Honestly; if Microsoft is telling us about this then I have full confidence that they'll succeed and turn those programs into something awesome. Because if there's one thing Microsoft can do is turn something totally shit into something totally awesome (at least to some people, others might be less enthusiast and would probably label it "finally useful").

    But here's the thing: Too little, too late.

    Microsoft really needs to realize that the first impression is all that counts.

    I'm not getting near Win8, even though it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Microsoft would somehow eventually succeed in setting up a solid and liable replacement for the start menu in Windows 8. I dunno; something which brings TIFKAM and the desktop better together.

    But the damage has already been done; a lot of people have only one intention: to keep their current Windows version around for as long as possible. Where XP users are more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 than Windows 8.

    So even if Microsoft would succeed, and I honestly think they'll pull it off eventually, it would hardly get them much further. Because just as now people will approach the product with a lot of (warranted!) prejudice; more likely picking some "other" solution just because of it.

    The first impression is what counts.

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      1. mmeier

        Re: First impressions are what count.

        Actually in the real world they laugh about the Gnulibans repeated claim that "THIS year will be the year of Linux on the desktop!"

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re-arrange the following words

    On, pig, like, lipstick, a, putting.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Re-arrange the following words

      Like putting a pig under lipstick. Fool the masses...

  8. Eponymous Cowherd

    The phrase.....

    polishing a turn, comes to mind.......

  9. The_Regulator

    Use Win 8 But I Don't Use Any Of Those Apps

    I use windows 8 on my home desktop pc with a mouse and keyboard no touchscreen, I do not even have those apps on my start screen as I do not use them. I actually use my pc almost exactly the same way as I did my windows 7 pc except for a few free apps e.g. ESPN, USA Today, Tech Blogs etc.

    Using my computer like this with windows 8 is actually by far a better experience than with windows 7 as I get the best of both worlds.

    Love watching you guys get all frothy at the mouth as soon as someone mentions windows 8 and microsoft.

    To @Eadon the troll judging a book by its cover is something a 4 year old might do, in the real world people actually try things and discover whether they like them or not then again you probably do not have the intelligence to try most things so.......

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  10. Sporkinum


    I tried the mail app, but i have not found a way to display a mail by itself. I don't use a wide screen monitor, and a lot of the mails I get, get a scroll bar because they are wider than the display area. Since Windows 8 won't let you drag borders around or re-size anything, the program is rendered minimally useful for me.

    I tried to use the calendar the other day to set a reminder of when payday was. I would be a recurring item once every 2 weeks. No option to create that.

    Also, with the non wide screen monitor, you can't use more than 1 program at a time.

    The only thing I occasionally use as a Windows 8 app is slacker, because it streams nicely in the background when I am doing things on the desktop. Otherwise I use Classic shell and boot directly to desktop.

  11. Shane Kent

    Can someone let me know when Win8 is out of Alpha and into Beta...

    because I got sick of waiting on MS when Media Center did absolutely nothing to push iTunes off MS's desktop.

    I had a welder, that right a welder and not even an office worker, tell me the programs on the tile-thingy are weak. His exact words, that is pretty sad. I guess they will walk monkey boy when they are at the penny stock level.

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