MS Outlook is #3 in Top 19 Business Email software

Last updated: October 24, 2019
MS Outlook
Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft. It can be used as a stand-alone application, or can work with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for multiple users in an organization, such as shared mailboxes and calendars, Exchange public folders, SharePoint lists and meeting schedules.

Positions in ratings


#3 in Top 19 Business Email software

#1 in Top 8 Online and Mobile Calendars

Alternatives


The best alternatives to MS Outlook are: Lotus Notes, GMail, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook.com



Latest news about MS Outlook


2019. Microsoft integrated its personal organizer app To-Do with Outlook


Microsoft has released a new version of its Microsoft To-Do personal organizer. It features full customization of color scheme and background, 2-factor authorization, smart recommendations for creating today's task list. Finally, the integration with Outlook is implemented: the Flagged Email list in the app displays flagged messages from Outlook.com. Also, it features integration with project management service Microsoft Planner, voice assistants Alexa and Cortana. At the end of the blog announcement, Microsoft hinted the closure of the Wunderlist service, which was acquired by the company 4 years ago and became the base on which To-Do was built. After that the Wunderlist founder Christian Reber asked Microsoft (via Twitter) to buy it back to make an open-source product.




2017. Mobile Outlook gets much smarter search



Microsoft unveiled a redesigned version of its popular Outlook mobile app for iOS and Android, which most notably includes a more intelligent search feature, powered by Microsoft Graph, along with other changes to navigation and conversations. Microsoft Graph is being used to turn Outlook’s search feature into a tool that can surface more than just emails – it will be augmented to include things like contacts, attachments, flight and travel itineraries, package deliveries and more. Search is also becoming a more central part of the experience in the new version of Outlook. When you tap into search it won’t be a blank screen, but will include proactive suggestions of your top contacts and recent files, as well as showcase things happening ‘today,’ like your travel plans – all before you even kick off your search. Plus, when you start typing, the auto-complete suggestions will display names from your most frequently contacted recipients first.


2016. Office 365 gets its own built-in lightweight CRM


Microsoft rolled out a new tool for business owners using Office 365 and Outlook called Outlook Customer Manager, a lightweight CRM for companies that need to track their customer interactions and history, but aren’t yet ready for a more robust platform like Dynamics 365. The new tool lets businesses track tasks and deals in progress directly in Outlook, and will pop-up reminders aimed at helping them stay on top of their customer relationships. Once enabled, Outlook Customer Manager will automatically organize customer information, including emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals and deadlines. This information – which is collected from email, calendar and call log data – is presented in a timeline format next to the inbox. Users can associate certain tasks with a contact, company or deal, so they can interact with their customers in a more timely fashion. It’s also able to present lists of deals by stage, close dates, priority and amount.


2016. Mobile Outlook gets built-in meeting scheduler



Mobile Outlook now has a new scheduling assistant that helps you find a time that works for everyone. The feature, which is rolling out today to the iOS version of Outlook’s mobile app, will show your coworkers’ availability so you can quickly pick a date and time when everyone can attend the meeting. To use the new scheduling assistant, you’ll first create an event from the app’s included calendar, then add the coworkers to the People field. You then tap on the date picker, and the app will automatically show you the times that work best, as color-coded suggestions.


2016. Microsoft updates Outlook for iOS and closes Sunrise



In 2015 Microsoft acquired Sunrise, the popular calendar app. Now Microsoft has closed this app and delivered a major update to the calendar features in its Outlook app for iOS. New Outlook's calendar has a design that looks much more like the old Sunrise app than previous versions. The in-app calendar uses colored icons that will look familiar to Sunrise users. The update also added a few new ones with event-specific graphics. Outlook is also much better at handling specific locations for events. It now uses Bing to fill in locations for meetings and appointments and you can open maps and directions directly from calendar entires as well.


2015. Microsoft to replace Sunrise calendar with Outlook



Microsoft will discontinue its multimillion dollar acquisition Sunrise after Outlook fully absorbs all of the calendar's existing features, Microsoft's Outlook chief. Javier Soltero, who joined Microsoft when the company acquired his email app Acompli, which became the basis for the current Outlook app, didn't say when the transition would happen but said Outlook's calendar would be steadily gaining new features during the next few months. It's not totally surprising. Microsoft discontinued another acquired app Acompli when it launched the new Outlook app at the beginning of the year.


2015. Microsoft's mobile calendar Sunrise makes scheduling meetings easier


Mobile calendar app Sunrise, recently acquired by Microsoft, has unveiled a new feature called Meet - a third-party keyboard for both Android and iOS that lets you pick time slots and send them to someone without ever leaving your current app. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you are reading an email and someone wants to meet you. You hit reply, type your response and then switch to the Sunrise keyboard. You pick time slots that work for you in your calendar, and hit done. Sunrise will generate a link and add it to your email. And it works exactly the same way in your favorite messaging app or in any other app. When your recipient taps on this link, there are two different scenarios. If you are using Sunrise, this link opens Sunrise and shows you meeting suggestions inside your calendar. You can confirm or suggest another time.


2015. Microsoft acquired calendar app Sunrise for $100M



Microsoft has acquired calendar app maker Sunrise at least for $100 million. Sunrise has a suite of calendar products for mobile and desktop users that connects with and consolidates calendars from different providers. It’s available on the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and on the Mac App Store, as well as offering a web client. Users can access their calendars from Google, iCloud, and Microsoft Exchange, as well as connecting to a wide range of other third-party apps. That cross-device and cross-platform support has helped it gain significant traction among users. The purchase furthers Microsoft’s push into supporting the platforms of rival technology firms. Microsoft made waves when it released a touch-friendly version of Office for Apple iOS, for example, before it did so for its own Windows 10 platform.


2015. Microsoft launches Outlook for iOS and Android



Microsoft already provided two Outlook-branded but rather limited apps: Outlook.com app for Android and OWA apps for Android and iOS that only work for paying Office 365 subscribers. The new Outlook for Android and iOS phones and tablets, based on the application Acompli it acquired (for $200) last December and has look and feel quite a bit like the original Acompli app. It will support Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, as well as most other email providers. The Outlook app also allows you to send attachments through many cloud services, including Microsoft’s own OneDrive, as well as Dropbox and others. Similar to most modern email apps, the new Outlook apps now also support various swipe gestures, which you can customize to your need.


2014. Microsoft rolls out Clutter - a new smart email filter for Outlook


Microsoft don't wont just to sit and watch Google's Email 2.0 initiatives. That's why Microsoft is rolling out Clutter, an inbox tool for Office 365 business customers that helps users prioritize email within Outlook. Much like Google's Priority Inbox for Gmail, it learns from your actions over time to surface the most important email while weeding out the messages it thinks you're most likely to ignore. These messages get separated into a designated "Clutter" folder; they can be viewed at any time but don't appear in your main inbox. You can proactively train Clutter by marking items as Clutter or simply move the items to the Clutter folder. Clutter continuously learns and will adapt to your new patterns within days when you begin working on new projects or a new role.


2014. Sunrise Calendar lets you connect third-party apps



Sunrise introduced integration of third-party apps to its calendar platform. You can now connect your Evernote, GitHub, Songkick, TripIt and Asana accounts to Sunrise to see your relevant data directly in your calendar, and interact with it. For example, with the TripIt integration, you can see your future flights in your calendar without having to manually add this info. With Evernote integration you can actually edit your notes in Sunrise or change the due date. And the GitHub integration shows your milestones in your calendar. Sunrise calendar is available on three different platforms — iOS, Android and the web.


2014. Microsoft launched Outlook for Android



Microsoft continues to implement its new strategy on releasing applications for competing platforms. Last year they released free Outlook (or rather Outlook Web App) app for iOS, and now the Android version is launching. OWA for Android allows to work with e-mail, calendar and contacts on your phone. All these items are synchronized with the online version of Outlook. However, here the positive ends. The fact is that the app only works with Office 365 service, and only with its business version (even Premium is not supported). It doesn't work with Outlook.com and even with private Exchange servers. Moreover, it's supported only by limited number of smartphones with Android 4.4 and certain screen size. Besides, judging by the first reviews it's terribly slow.


2013. Microsoft launched Outlook for iPhone and iPad



Until now, iPhone and iPad users in companies that use Exchange mail server had two options - to set up access to the mail server in built-in iOS mail client (via Exchange ActiveSync), or open the web-interface Outlook Web App in browser. Of course, both options had a lot of restrictions for working with Outlook, and Microsoft has finally decided to release the native apps OWA for iPhone and iPad. Why only now? In order to give advantage to Windows Phones and Surface tablets. Why they ventured to take this step now? Because there is a catch. Although Outlook for iOS is free, it can be only used by Office 365 subscribers, who pay $100/year. So it's the same story as with MS Office for iPhone. What advantages will get the users and companies who are authorized to use Outlook for iOS? At first, the opportunity to separate corporate mail from the personal and separately receive push-notifications of new messages and calendar reminders, to see the number of new messages on the iPhone/iPad start screen. Admins will get the ability to remotely wipe data from user email, contacts and calendars in case if the device is lost or employee is fired. In addition, the app features voice command input, integration with Bing maps and auto-responders. Besides, maybe you like to use email in Metro interface.


2011. Xobni turns Email into universal access point to business apps



We have already talked about the competition between Email and corporate portals/social tools for the right to be the primary workplace. Initially, this role was fully owned by Email. Then appeared the web-based collaboration systems and social tools that were intended to replace the "outdated" Email. And it seemed that they would kill Email soon. But some clever people invented social Email plug-ins (Xobni, Rapportive, Harmon.ie, Gist, Etacts), that gave the second life to Email-clients. They added social and file-storage functions to the Email. And they're not going to stop. Today Xobni has opened the Xobni Gadget Store - the marketplace for apps, that can be embedded to MS Outlook and turn it into the universal interface to all business systems. The apps are embedded in the Xobni sidebar as the new tabs. Technically, these are gadgets that support the open standard OpenSocial. Due to this technical implementation Xobni had no problems in attracting partners who want to create a gadget for their systems. And the initial list of apps available in the Xobni Gadget Store - looks very solid. It includes Webex, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sharepoint, Salesforce CRM, Chatter, Yammer, etc (of 20 gadgets). Most of these apps - are free, but there are also some paid (Salesforce, JIRA) that cost $ 9.99/god. How it works? For example, you receive email from someone and without leaving Outlook you can to see the notes about this person from Evernote, look at his profile from Salesforce CRM, see what files you shared with him via Dropbox, or read his latest posts on Yammer. You can also enter new data about the contact into these business applications. For while these gadgets only work in Outlook, but Xobni promises to add them to GMail soon.


2010. Microsoft adds Facebook and Windows Live Messenger to Outlook



Microsoft has updated its social Outlook plug-in - Outlook Social Connector, which can now can fetch the contact's data from Facebook and Windows Live Messenger (formerly the plug-in by default only supported LinkedIn, MySpace and Sharepoint). The Outlook Social Connector is intended to provide users with the actual information about a contact to better understand his mood and interests, which is very important when communicating with customers. The plug-in can display only publicly-available information from the profiles in social networks. Meanwhile it can only receive data but doesn't allow to post messages or statuses to the social networks. Microsoft says that soon the plug-in will be integrated with some local social networks.


2010. Socialwok uses Gmail and Outlook as its clients



Socialwok (known as the "social layer for Google Apps") like the online organizer Producteev, shows us the new meaning of "cross-platform" definition. Realizing that users most of time spend in email clients (such as Outlook and GMail), Socialwok simply decided to get inside these email clients. Socialwok was one of the first services to use the new GMail API and has created the gadget that can be expanded on the entire GMail workspace (see screenshot) and allows to post messages to microblogs, share Google Docs files, images, Youtube videos and events from Google Calendar, search for Google Docs, post to Twitter or Facebook right from your GMail interface. The next step was inside MS Outlook. Socialwok has released the Outlook plug-in that can be downloaded and installed. This plug-in works with Outlook Social Connector and allows you to view contact's social profile, its latest messages in microblogs, email-threads, attachments and shared events. The plugin also creates the Socialwok contacts folder in Outlook and syncs contacts with Socialwok account. Interesting,  that to log in the Outlook plugin (as well as to the online Socialwok account) you use Google Apps or GMail credentials. Currently Socialwok - is absolutely free. And at the same time, it's continually innovating and adding new features. Probably this service will repeat the fate of Etherpad and Docverse - i.e. will be acquired by Google.


2010. Lotus Notes also becomes social



The world's most popular enterprise Email client, MS Outlook, is already equipped with various Enterprise 2.0 tools. Outlook is already integrated with social networks (Xobni and Outlook Social Connector), Google Apps, Google Docs (Harmony), Remember the Milk, etc. Now, when this place is crowded, the developers switched their attention to the second most popular enterprise Email client - Lotus Notes. Thus, the new plug-in + service Gist makes the same for Lotus Notes as Xobni for Outlook - allows you to see the social profiles of those with whom you communicate. Gist pulls the latest information about a person from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as recent news about his company from blogs and news sites. In addition, the plug-in displays in suitable form all correspondence with selected contact and files sent to/from him. It should be noted that Gist also works with Outlook, GMail, iPhone and may also be accessed as a web service.


2010. Harmony - a lot of pleasure for Outlook and Google Docs users



Harmony, the new plug-in for MS Outlook by Mainsoft gave us a lot of positive emotions, which we want to share. First, is its video presentation, which is really cool. Secondly, Harmony - is really useful tool that allows to access and collaborate with documents stored in Google Docs or MS Sharepoint, without leaving MS Outlook. In particular, you can open and edit office documents directly in Outlook, search in docs content and share documents with co-workers instead of sending them back and forth. And it's not necessary that your co-workers have this plug-in installed and have Google Docs account - they just click the link in the email and the document will be shared to them automatically (for viewing or editing). Besides, the plug-in is absolutely free and the Mainsoft CEO, Yaacov Cohen, sais that it will remain free forever. The future versions that will include functionality that IT departments want (granular control, permissioning, central admin etc) will potentially be paid. But it seems the company has a good chance to sell the startup to Microsoft or Google.


2010. Outlook Social Connector - the social layer for MS Outlook



Recently, we often see the software vendors integrating their enterprise software with public social networks. And Microsoft also wants to participate in this trend. Last year they released the Social Networking Accelerator for MS Dynamics CRM, which allows you to monitor the social networks for mentioning specific themes. And this year, along with Office 2010, they will release the social plugin Outlook Social Connector, which lets you see the social profile of the person who sent you email. Initial Microsoft's partner in this project is the business social network LinkedIn. If a person who has a LinkedIn public profile sent you email, you will be provided with the current information from his profile, including his connections and recent activities. In addition to LinkedIn, Outlook Social Connector can pull data (and messages) from profiles in Sharepoint, Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter. And using the API, developers can link Outlook to any social network or corporate portal. Moreover, the plugin will notify you if the contact information is updated in the external source and will offer you to sync the contact data to Outlook. And of course, the plugin displays the history of correspondence with this person (from Outlook), attached files, as well as the tasks and events linked to him. Outlook Social Connector is very similar to the popular plug-in Xobni, that Bill Gates called the future of social networks. But Xobni recently came under the influence of the Microsoft's rival - Cisco, therefore the company decided to develop its own solution.


2009. Exchange 2010 - unified messaging in the Cloud



Microsoft officially released the new version of its enterprise email server Exchange Server 2010. It's desktop client Outlook 2010 will appear only next year together with other Office 2010 applications. What is the most interesting about Exchange 2010? First, thanks to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 (details here), and some new features in the new version, Exchange 2010 is now completely adopted for the cloud deployment. Of course, Hosted Exchange 2007 has been already provided for some years, but the latest version is much more secure, reliable and suitable for administration, when installed on the remote server (or in data-center). Second, the Exchange web client (Outlook Web Access) was fully revamped. BTW it's now called Outlook Web App. We already mentioned about its new GMail-like features, but the most interesting that it's positioned now not just as email client, but as unified messaging client. It can support not just emails, but also sms, IM messages and voicemail (if Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is installed). Outlook Web App optimized for all browsers (except Chrome) and works on mobile devices. Other important updates include enhanced spam protection (beta users report of fantastic 70% spam reduction in Inbox), inbuilt email archiving system and enhanced database. Exchange 2010 works only on 64-bit platforms. Together with Exchange 2010, its security infrastructure Forefront Protection 2010 has been released.


2008. Microsoft Makes Calendar Sync Work



It seems that Microsoft has finally given the people what they want and have provided a calendar sync tool that actually makes all of Microsoft's calendaring programs work together. The new tool providing this functionality is the latest version of the Outlook Connector public beta. This downloadable software works to sync Outlook's calendar with Windows Live Hotmail's Calendar with the Windows Live Calendar Beta. Such an integrated offering is a surprise considering that Microsoft is a company that's sometimes known for launching what are perceived as too-similar, parallel solutions (think FolderShare, SyncToy, SkyDrive, Mesh). The previous version of this connector allowed you to sync email and contacts data between Outlook and Hotmail for free, but calendar sync required a subscription service. With this new version, however, calendar sync is now free and it includes the ability to work with Live Calendar beta. And because Live Calendar also supports calendar sharing, those shared calendars will sync back to Outlook, too.


2007. Microsoft launches Windows Live Calendar



Windows Live is slowly rolling outs its new Calendar, which can be seen on some accounts. But here are some of the features that you’ll find once you do get access to the Calendar. There are customizable reminders with options for timers, and these alerts can be delivered through your Windows Live alerts. There’s also the ability to make multiple calendars, which can be organized by name and color. These calendar’s can be shared with other Live users, for both editing and viewing purposes. This functionality is similar to sharing access for your SkyDrive folders, and is extended by the new Co-Owner role, which provides admin options for calendars. Other sharing options for calendars include XML, ICS support and feed reader compatibility. With ICS import you can also integrate files for Outlook and Google calendar. Events can be edited in this manner as well, for overwriting duplicate events and adding new details.


2006. Microsoft Exchange 2007 bets on unified messaging



Today Microsoft has officially announced the new version of its Email collaboration solution Exchange Server 2007. The main concept of the new Exchange version is unified messaging. It means that employees can work with e-mail, voice mail and faxes in a single interface. And thanks to the integration with MS Office Communications Server, text-to-speech and voice recognition technologies now you can dial to your mailbox and listen to the new email-messages. But these features are available only in more expensive edition Exchange Enterprise. In addition, the new Exchange version includes antivirus and antispam protection, tools for backup and data replication (that significantly increase the mailbox size), the new feature Outlook Anywhere, that lets you connect Outlook to the Exchange server via the Internet. Besides, Exchange 2007 only runs on 64-bit architecture .


2004. Microsoft links Outlook to Lotus

Microsoft released a software add-on Monday for the 2003 and 2002 versions of Outlook that allows the e-mail clients to work with a server running IBM's Lotus Domino software. The Notes Connector is available now for free download. It works with versions 5 and 6 of Domino and allows Outlook to retrieve messages, calendar items, address book entries and to-do lists stored on the server. Lotus includes an e-mail client of its own, but IBM has found that many customers prefer to work with Outlook, which is part of Microsoft's widespread Office productivity package.


2002. Microsoft switches users from Lotus Notes to Outlook

Microsoft has introduced a free software for companies that use Lotus Domino as their e-mail server, which enables users to work with their email in Outlook rather than in Lotus Notes. Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector is compatible with the latest version of Lotus Domino and allows you to access your mail, contacts and calendars. Thus, Microsoft is taking customers away from IBM, first switching them to Outlook, and then offering to switch from Lotus Domino to Exchange .


1997. Microsoft Exchange 5.0 adds web-access, new desktop client MS Outlook



The new version of Microsoft's mail server Exchange Server 5.0 includes the Web interface Exchange Web Access, which enables users to access information in the Exchange via Internet browser. However, to get this opportunity you'll have to pay for a client license, even if you do not have a mailbox on the server. In addition to the new web client, Exchange Server now has a new desktop client - MS Outlook 97, which is a part of MS Office 97 and replaces the calendaring app Schedule+ and e-mail client Exchange Client. In addition, the new Exchange features support of messaging protocols SMTP and POP3, as well as directory access protocol LDAP. The standard version of Exchange Server is priced at $ 999 for the server license.