back to article Even Microsoft thinks Outlook is bloated and slow

Microsoft has admitted that its Outlook email and calendar app is too weighty and slow, releasing a new version, essentially a lighter and faster email client for the times you want to send snappy messages. Dubbed “Send”, Microsoft suggests the new app is for use when “... you just need to send a quick, short note to your co- …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Outlook for Phones

    Simon forget to mention that he is not talking about the desktop version, which runs very well thank you...

    For the 4 users that actually use "Outlook for Mobile Microsoft Platforms", why not just throw away that MS thing, buy an Android or Apple and use BES or Airwatch etc.....which are nice a quick

    1. Richard 22
      WTF?

      Re: Outlook for Phones

      > Simon forget to mention that he is not talking about the desktop version, which runs very well thank you...

      Really? Bloated and slow seems like a perfect description of the desktop version. It's an awful, confused bit of software which would benefit from throwing in the bin and being redesigned from scratch.

      1. Wize

        Re: Outlook for Phones

        If you think the desktop version is bloated and slow, then you should try using Lotus Notes for a while. Outlook is a whole lot lighter.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Outlook for Phones

          "If you think the desktop version is bloated and slow, then you should try using Lotus Notes for a while. Outlook is a whole lot lighter."

          I agree with that. I'd be over the moon if our company dumped Notes for Outlook. The Notes client is a software abomination - unusable, filled with arcana, bloated, tech, bugged and extremely expensive.

          I bet many orgs still use it because they bought some horrifically expensive site licence and rather than switch to something better they throw good money after bad by making their staff suffer under this POS.

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Outlook for Phones

          Lotus Notes. Bloated, slow, and with a user interface that was bang up-to-date in 1989.

          1. Irongut

            Re: Outlook for Phones

            Lotus Notes... a perverse database application platform used to torture users and IT staff and occasionally to send email.

  2. goldcd

    and they still do run Lync..

    ..is this not a replacement for Mail/Outlook Express or whatever the freebie mail program that's come bundled with Windows for decades.

    1. Test Man

      Re: and they still do run Lync..

      Outlook Express (a newer version of Internet Mail and News) was bundled with 98 up to XP (and 2000 and Server 2003). Windows Mail (a wholly separate program) was only bundled with Vista.

      As an aside Windows Live Mail was a newer version of Outlook Express and was never bundled with Windows, but came out at around the same time as Vista.

  3. jzl

    Microsoft still haven't turned into a single company, have they? It's like a million mini-Microsofts all producing their own little products with almost no bigger picture.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      I don't often join in with the Microsoft knockers.

      But this time...... I'm in there with you.

      The Outlook app on my WInphone seem absolutely fine for use.

      It works fast, loads instantly, what's the problem.

      This doesn't seem to be about the Outlook on my PC, which is a bit slow to start, but it's there to give me access to my messages and calendar, with suitable filters and what have you, so I'd prefer it a bit quicker, and less fussy, yes, but wouldn't want anything less than this gives me.

      So this new thing, what the F*** is it for? Really. As a way to get us to email text messages?

      Why?

      Talk of a solution without a problem.

      If Microsoft want to make things more efficient they could start with some of the weird and wonderful annoyances in WORD that have been there since Office 6 at least. For example, don't ever put a table at the top of a page. As at Office 2010, my version, you still can't then insert a line above it if you need to without a bit of trickery.

      And anyone who has ever tried to console an office adminstrator who has spent hours creating a document only to see the whole thing go pear shaped at the last minute because a small formatting change has made the whole document do something gobsmackingly barmy will be able to suggest a few improvements they could make.

      (No Icon for LibreOffice users?)

      God knows there are plenty of annoyances they could iron out. But this bit old..........

      1. Lusty

        "For example, don't ever put a table at the top of a page. As at Office 2010, my version, you still can't then insert a line above it if you need to without a bit of trickery."

        I don't seem to have an issue with this, and don't recall it being an issue. go to first cell, press home, press enter. Perhaps they did fix it after 2010 but I'm sure I've done it this way for years.

        1. nigeb

          I'm on Office 2013 and it's always been broken for me too. There's no gap to place your cursor above the table. So you have to insert a new row, split the table and then convert the top one to text. Doh!

        2. Martin Silver badge
          WTF?

          "For example, don't ever put a table at the top of a page. As at Office 2010, my version, you still can't then insert a line above it if you need to without a bit of trickery."

          I don't seem to have an issue with this, and don't recall it being an issue. go to first cell, press home, press enter.

          And what do you know - it works. Thanks for that.

          But ffs - I should be able to just be able to put the cursor at the top of the table with my mouse and press "enter". Why doesn't that work?

          1. Vince

            re Office/Word Tables etc

            I imagine you're all people who claim to be "skilled in Microsoft Office" on your CV too.

            1. Martin Silver badge

              Re: re Office/Word Tables etc

              I imagine you're all people who claim to be "skilled in Microsoft Office" on your CV too.

              As a matter of fact, I don't claim that at all - I state, quite accurately, that I'm competent. There are lots of useful tricks I know exist but can't remember. But the point is, it shouldn't NEED a useful trick to insert a line ahead of a table at the start of an email.

        3. Terry 6 Silver badge

          No, My bad.

          It is fixed . It did work I just missed that one.

          Mia Culpe.

          That being said, it's hardly an obvious or intuitive method. In fact it's totally opaque.

          Hence three of us here on El Reg being grateful for this tip.* And secretaries and office adminstrators up and down the land when we share it with them.

          Given a "How do you think we should implement this function?" discussion I can't believe that this was the best solution that anyone could come up with.

          *My method was to create a page break, which then allows a line above the table. Then delete the page break. Weird, but not much harder than the official method above.

          1. Lusty

            Blimey, was I just thanked by several people on the Reg comments for a post disagreeing with someone? Surely I deserve a gold badge for this miracle! :)

      2. jzl

        I'm not a Microsoft knocker. I make my living with Visual Studio.

        I'm more of a concerned friend, I guess, than a knocker.

  4. Sebby

    Great

    More poorly-formatted and rudely-replied-to email. I can hardly wait.

  5. Talic

    Sounds like some sort of Short Messaging Service

    1. dogged

      Sounds bloody pointless, is what it sounds.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Scenario

    The report says that it will only see messages sent from Send, and not anything from its big brother. So what happens if I send a message from Send to Fred, and Fred responds using Outlook, rather than Send? (Maybe he doesn't have Send). Will it be received (or ignored) by my copy of Send?

    If it does get received by Send, how big a message can Fred send me before Send refuses to accept it? Maybe anything that has an attachment? But then Fred might have a signature which makes it ineligible to be sent to Send.

    So if you send a Send message to say "Meet for lunch 1pm?" and you don't get a reply - because the recipient used Outlook to respond, and sent a reply back which violated the rules by which Send would receive it, you might think you didn't get a reply,

    1. dogged

      Re: Scenario

      Good question, and how does that work anyway?

      Isn't it simply opening a mailbox (POP3, IMAP or Exchange)? What use is an email client that open all your email?

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Scenario

      So, to add to the misery of TNEF problems (whereby MS products have been known to be incompatible with each other), are we going to see TL;DR problems as well?

      Maybe that's it, any message that violates the rules for acceptance by Send gets their message truncated to TL;DR.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scenario

      You are inventing problems to discredit a product that you don't even understand, which makes you a commentard of the highest order (subordinate only to those that will read your comments as fact, and amplify them further).

      If you bother to actually read the description from Microsoft on it:

      "And we’ve heard loud and clear from people at work, they want all their communications available in Outlook—even if they send them from other apps. This is where Send comes in! Send gives you the simple, quick text message-like experience while allowing you to reach all co-workers and have all of your communications in Outlook for reference later."

      and...

      "Send doesn’t show all your emails, just the ones started in the app, keeping you in control. All Send messages comply with your organization’s email compliance policies—they are treated like any other work email."

      In case it isn't obvious, Send is meant for the sender (the clue is in the name ;-) It is meant for when you are in a hurry and want to blast a 1-liner. Your stupid speculation about attachments is obviously irrelevant here. Whether the recipient has Send or not, it will appear in Outlook (or any other mail client you have). Replies to messages sent from Send will show in Send, whether the recipient has it or not.

      I think this is cool - I often need to send quick 1-liners with no subject line, or to people that don't have IM. I love the fact that you can see the person starting to respond, which solves the "did they get it?" question.

      If you don't like the idea or you don't need it, don't fucking use it and accept that it might be appealing to others!

  7. jason 7

    I blame hipsters.

    Seems software has to be constantly changing so a certain sector of the community doesn't get bored and move onto the next 'groovy' thing.

    So often we've seen perfectly easy to use and functional software which appears to have reached its evolutionary zenith (no real harm in that) ...and then it changes for no apparent reason into something grotesque and counter intuitive.

    It's times like those I would dearly love to see the initial design discussion meetings.

    A: "It's fine as it is, we have 90% user satisfaction!"

    B: "Yes but a lot of bearded guys in those ridiculous jeans 3" too short in the leg that we all laugh at behind their backs, are starting to moan about how boring it is on Twitter!"

    A: "But it's just an email app FFS! It just has to do a simple job and do it quick and easy!"

    B: "Well the vocal plimmy and pop up kitchen brigade are revolting so we have to change it!"

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I blame hipsters. (I do too!)

      You know who they are, the ones who can't ever hear or follow what you are trying to tell them because of the damn headphones, the attention span of a gnat, memory of a mosquito, trend following instead of direction following, morons?!?

      1. annodomini2

        Re: I blame hipsters. (I do too!)

        Don't forget the turd they are attempting to polish ;)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is the real Outlook substitute?

    Lack of Outlook substitute elsewhere is one of the few things keeping your typical corporate Windows user (Joe Public, not Joanne Dev) happy with their Microsoft implementation, comfortable in the knowledge that There Is No Alternative, for Outlook anyway.

    It seems MS don't understand this (not that anyone should be surprised). The remaining Outlook users (I am one, despite no longer being in a corporate environment) don't want a fragmented unintegrated new tool, even (maybe especially) if it's one that only works on a phone, and requires some kind of phone<>Exchange sync mechanism that may or may not be permitted by the IT Department.

    Ken Moorhouse asks the kind of obvious questions that the report didn't cover, questions presumably MS don't want the potential user to think about.

    Break Outlook, lose the corporate desktop (and lose the remaining non-corporate addicts like me too).

    Madness.

    Btw, anyone thinking that Google Mail/Calendar/etc offers a viable (corporate) alternative just needs to look at what Google did for Virgin Cable's Gmail implementation in the last few days.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Where is the real Outlook substitute?

      A good point. I only use Outlook because it keeps my calendar on my Winphone and Computer in Sync. We use Thunderbird on the family PC.

      A few years back I used to be able to sync my calendars through Google, until Google removed the functionality that allowed Google and Outlook calendars to Sync.

      I'd often write events through the website with Google, while I was out and about, and read them on my desktop in Outlook when at home or in the office.

      So I stopped using Google. Because I wanted a programme running on my computer, not just a web page that I had to log in to in a browser every time I needed to know where my next appointment was.

      Now I never log-in to my Google calendar anymore, because I don't even use it anymore. A calendar needs to be on the desktop so you can see your schedule, not in the browser.

      And Outlook does this.

      1. ISP

        Re: Where is the real Outlook substitute?

        " A calendar needs to be on the desktop so you can see your schedule, not in the browser"

        I agree, and that's why I use the Lightning plugin and Google calender plugins for Thunderbird. That way if I enter a date on my 'droid phone it appears on Thunderbird and vice versa.

        No outlook required.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where is the real Outlook substitute?

          "s why I use the Lightning plugin and Google calender plugins for Thunderbird. That way if I enter a date on my 'droid phone it appears on Thunderbird and vice versa.

          No outlook required."

          OK but I'm a non-corporate user who wants one which needs *neither* Google *nor* Microsoft. What are the odds? Zimbra don't seem quite there for my needs yet, though looks interesting for those that have an open-minded IT crowd.

          1. Daniel B.
            Go

            Re: Where is the real Outlook substitute?

            Zimbra don't seem quite there for my needs yet, though looks interesting for those that have an open-minded IT crowd.

            Zimbra has ... served us well. The payware version even d0es calendar syncing IIRC.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where is the real Outlook substitute?

      Fail.

      Ken Moorhouse asked stupid questions that didn't need asking if he had RTFM. He is either simple or a troll.

      You fall into the "amplifier of ignorant bullshit" category, so well done you!

      "Phone-Exchange sync mechanism"? Fucking priceless... :-)

  9. jason 7

    The best way to use Outlook...

    ...is not to use it in the first place.

    1. CaptainBanjax

      Re: The best way to use Outlook...

      It should come with a warning label like on cigarettes.

      "Outlook kills"

      "Outlook damages your health and the health of those around you"

      "Excessive use of Outlook can lead to premature birth"

      "Using Outlook causes large deposits on your hard drive which could lead to a support ticket."

      "Recreating your outlook profile may cause the loss of family and friends as the NK2 file is buried away and you wont ever find it"

      "Outlook use may lead to stunted respect from your IT guy".

      "Outlook usage may lead you to use dumb statements like 'I have to use it because everyone else does' or 'can you show me how to share my calendar again please'".

      There should be pictures on the warnings too. Like a shrivelled up blackened brain. Or a hard drive with no space left. Or a PA crying at 1am at her desk because she cant send out "that important email" and her boss has already left to go on holiday. Or a picture of a douchebag on a ski slope on the phone to IT support whining about his email not syncing and not understanding THERES NOT ENOUGH SIGNAL EVERYWHERE ON A MOUNTAIN.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    Brilliant idea, Microsoft

    And I'm sure IT managers all over the world will really appreciate the headache of yet another messaging tool that they will have to report on, evaluate, analyze the implementation issues, the use case, install and maintain, and keep track of all the new mailing issues that will inevitably be raised by users who can't find a message in Outlook any more and want a restore.

    Talk about throwing a wrench in the works.

    Honestly, I doubt that this thing will be installed by anyone or any company. In companies, Outlook is part of the PC's start up list and it stays on all day. People are not going to be switching around and, if they really do have need for an IM client, they most likely already have one. So Send is to replace that IM thing but it crosses over with Outlook.

    Gah.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant idea, Microsoft

      I bet I know why this exists... Send probably connects directly to the Exchange server whereas the ex-Acompli Outlook app connects via Azure. Haven't checked it but it's probably that.

      So instead of fixing the Outlook app they make another app.

      Now try explaining that to the users.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant idea, Microsoft

        I'm sure that the vast majority of desktop users have their email client set to start automatically when they log in. It keeps on running throughout their session. That's how they can see incoming email traffic (and get meeting reminders if they're using Outlook).

        Outlook may be slow to start, but most users rarely see this happening. It's not particularly slow when composing or sending messages.

        As far as I can see Microsoft's new application is something that you'll run in addition to Outlook. So their response to Outlook bloat is to add more bloat.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outlook

    It's a product that was designed for the way we worked in the last millennium and it shows, it's like trying to use a steam traction engine on a motorway.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ugh

    I already hate Microsoft Outlook. It is definitely slow and bloated. I still dont understand why the old OST and PST model persists. Whats wrong with a local SQL Express instance? PSTs and OSTs still use JET based tech dont they? Ive no idea what exchange uses but id assume something equally as miserable.

    People here working as sysadmins will know the pain of the everyday Outlook issues. "My emails are stuck in the outbox", "my mailbox only syncs when I hit send/receive", "ive lost all the contacts I had in the autocomplete".

    This list goes on. Kill it with fire Microsoft.

    I know there are server side policies for archiving and such but you try implementing a mailbox size policy without some high ranking dipshit claiming to need access to their email from 1994.

    Try also explaining that Exchange is a mailserver not a storage system to all those idiots that leave massive attachments in their mailboxes without moving them to the company "S drive".

    There was once place I worked at years ago that had a user with a 72GB mailbox. She worked for a certain London based art mogul who had to have an entire information store to himself because of his mailbox size. Every new workstation deployment for him was a nightmare because each time we had to explain that his mailbox was fucking huge and it will take a day or so to sync.

    The guy is widely known for being an angry arsehole and its probably Outlook and his friggin mailbox that causes it.

    People man, they're idiots.

    As for the guy that recommended BES. I didnt think that was still going. Back in the era of Blackberry I would actively avoid it since it required a MAPI connection using credentials that had access to all mailboxes. That always seemed a bit dodgy to me.

    Plus boiling down your entire push email architecture down to a single 32-bit MAPI profile felt like putting concrete wheels on a Porche to me.

    No idea what its like these days though.

    BIS was always good for a laugh though. The circle of blame is infinite with that. Is it the mobile operator or Blackberry that is responsible for supporting it? Who knows? I dont...never did find out.

    All I know is you need to remove the battery and SIM for 10 minutes et voila...Blackberry fixed.

    Dont get me started on Enterprise Activation.

    1. Vince

      Re: Ugh

      "There was once place I worked at years ago that had a user with a 72GB mailbox. She worked for a certain London based art mogul who had to have an entire information store to himself because of his mailbox size. Every new workstation deployment for him was a nightmare because each time we had to explain that his mailbox was fucking huge and it will take a day or so to sync"

      Well good news... "massive" mailboxes really aren't a big deal - we have customers with pretty crazy mailboxes. If you're up to date and using Outlook 2013, you can tell it to selectively sync 'n' months of data so that isn't such a chore and his local storage can be reduced without any loss of actual mail.

      Lets's pretend these issues are issues though...

  13. Graham Triggs

    Hmmm....

    Quoting the article:

    "Microsoft hopes you'll use Send in situations when you'd probably send a text message. The Send spiel suggests you'll use it when “You don’t have time to search your inbox, start a new thread, or even type out a subject line. You just want to ask that person, 'Will you be at the presentation?'”"

    OK, so maybe sometimes you don't have a mobile number. Maybe you only have an email address. And maybe in those scenarios this makes a certain amount of sense.

    But if you have a mobile number, if you were going to send a text message, then this app isn't removing a problem. In those circumstances, this app is ADDING TO THE PROBLEM.

    I'm rather getting tired of all the attempts to make email better. Making email better is easy - fix the bastard apps so that they work properly, everybody actually agree to standards and use them, kill stupid shit like the "Google Mail Outlook plugin" (seriously - Microsoft and Google, just make your apps / services speak the same language and stop infesting us with malware), and ensure the technology can cope with a very large volume of email because guess what - we NEED to retain emails, and we end up with very large piles of them.

    All of the other crap that people are inventing is just irritating shite that makes email harder to deal with.

  14. Hellcat

    If they were really bored and just had to create an app...

    Why didn't they create a replacement for the unified messaging they killed off on Windows phone?

    One of the best features was a single hub where texts, facebook, skype etc messages dropped in, organised by contact, with the ability to reply via any method. So you could be having a SMS conversation with someone, and need to send a photo, so you send the next message via facebook messenger and attach the image without paying mms costs. Then they drop out of 3G coverage so you take it back to SMS - all without losing the context of your conversation.

    1. Vince

      Re: If they were really bored and just had to create an app...

      The unified mailbox I believe disappeared as a result of changes to Facebook primarily that meant the system wasn't able to operate anymore - not actually sure if they had an alternative option and decided not to implement, but I agree it was one of the better features of Windows Phone.

  15. Martin Silver badge

    iThing only?

    So let me check I read this correctly.

    Microsoft have produced a new mail app for quick messages. And it's only available on Apple phones, not on Windows phones.

    What happened to "eat your own dogfood"?

    1. jzl

      Re: iThing only?

      I suspect it's worse for them than you think - the other possibility is that they do want to eat their own dogfood, so they're producing it on the platform that most of their staff use.

  16. The Original Steve

    Think I'll stick to Lync / Skype for Business thanks...

  17. Frumious Bandersnatch

    oo-er missus

    No time for the old "in-out". I'm just here to read the meter.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    All relative

    At work I've just come from 5 years of Lotus Notes. Outlook seems like an aglile thoroughbred in comparison. But what's with the ALL CAPS menus? That's a bit weird.

    1. jason 7
      Facepalm

      Re: All relative

      Lotus Notes and the over pixel sensitive copy/paste.

      "easy does it...just want to copy those two lines...F**K its selected the whole 3 pages again!"

  19. azaks

    would El Reg sell more ads...

    if they wrote something complimentary about MS? I would say the ratio of MS haters to fans is 99:1 on here. If the headline was "Microsoft go one better on their already stellar mail client", I think they would make a ton more money. Just a thought.

    "Microsoft has admitted that its Outlook email and calendar app is too weighty and slow" - really? where? I don't know how Simon lives with himself...

  20. willemjanssen206

    EVO collaborator

    I think both are slow and bloated (especially the desktop version)

    Seeing that I want to sync everything for my work I need this to work well and fast.

    Ever since 2014 Iv started using a plugin for Outlook to help out with my syncing.

    Check out EVO collaborator. Might make things work more smoothly for you guys too.

    Found this blogpost about it for this interested : http://outlookandmacosxserver.blogspot.com/2014/10/synchronize-androids-contacts-and.html

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