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Microsoft’s Outlook Revamp Leaves Users Puzzled

Image Source: Robert Way / Shutterstock

Microsoft has unveiled plans for a new Outlook update, which is set to gradually phase out the traditional Windows Mail and Calendar apps by 2024, eventually replacing the longstanding Outlook desktop app.

The most recent software update by Microsoft has attached the “classic” tag to the desktop version of Outlook. This is to help users tell it apart from the updated variant. Previously, this veteran version was simply referred to as Outlook.

Below is an image that illustrates the original configuration:

For many users who have not kept abreast of Microsoft’s announcements, the sudden appearance of two distinct Outlook apps on their machines can be quite disorienting.

The intention behind the rebranding seems clear: Microsoft is encouraging users to move away from the desktop Outlook, the stalwart of email clients, toward their new offering. Though the classic app will still be operational until at least 2029, its days are numbered.

Microsoft is putting its weight behind the new Outlook, with hopes that it reflects the future of email management. This is despite some user resistance stemming from the new edition’s missing features that were present in the classic Outlook. It is anticipated that with time, Microsoft will drop the “new” tag, completing the shift.

Regarding the Mail and Calendar apps, starting in July, they are set to become read-only, as reported by Dr. Windows. Users will be unable to send or receive emails through these applications.

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This approach outlines Microsoft’s commitment to guide its user base towards the new Outlook. Yet, how effective this strategy will be is uncertain, given the availability of several competing email clients including the trusted classic Outlook and the freely-available Thunderbird.

Microsoft’s History of Confusing Overhauls

The technology behemoth has a track record of initiating updates that leave customers bewildered. For instance, there was a complication with Microsoft Teams where users were unclear about whether the consumer or business edition would launch upon accepting invites, stemming from their similar names and icons.

Similarly, Microsoft introduced a fresh OneNote application that exists alongside the old one, adding to user confusion. Both OneNote 2016 and OneNote for Windows 10 featured identical icons, complicating the scenario further when Microsoft chose to rename OneNote 2016 to simply OneNote.

Image Source: Robert Way / Shutterstock

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