Aol's new Alto email product won't work with Microsoft services [Update]

Aol recently relaunched its once popular Aol Mail email service and today the company is launching an all new service designed to work with other web email products. However, it looks like it won't play nicely with Microsoft's Hotmail and recently launched Outlook.com service.

Aol's new venture is called Alto and it is now available in a public "preview version" designed to work with Aol Mail, along with Google's Gmail, Yahoo Mall and Apple's .Mac and .me accounts. The press release and the website make no mention of Hotmail or Outlook.com support.

The press release states that Alto is designed to give its users "visual relief from inboxes overloaded with a constant flow of daily deals, newsletters, social notifications, and more." Alto uses what it calls "stacks" to separate emails that are important to the user compared to other emails that are not as important or flat-out spam or junk emails.

Users can sign up now for the preview version of Alto and Aol will accept them on a first-come, first-served basis. Users will be able to register up to five email accounts from the supported email services for use by Alto. We have contacted Aol to find out why Hotmail and Outlook.com accounts cannot be used with Alto.

Microsoft and Aol recently concluded an agreement that had Microsoft purchasing hundreds of patents owned by Apple for the price of over $1 billion.

Update: Venture Beat reports that Alto works with email services that use the IMAP protocol, which Outlook.com current doesn't support. Aol says if Outlook.com adds IMAP support, Alto will add it to Alto.

Source: Aol press release | Images via Aol

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In other news, they DO NOT SUPPORT EAS (Exchange Active Sync), which is a realtime server side protocol that is faster, more secure and significantly more robust than IMAP.

This is not about Outlook.com or Hotmail.com, this is about the lack of features and support. It is also a problem for corporate users, as Exchange based servers that do not allow IMAP are not going to be supported.

What happened to project phoenix? It never came out.
I just applied for an invite just to try it and see what it is about.

duddit2 said,
I thought they had died, unfortunately this is not the case.

Never understood this new attitude that companies "run their course", after which the only sensible thing for them to do is lock their doors and send everyone home for good.

The concept of changing, evolving, improving, reinventing, and ultimately finding a path to longevity as a business is lost on geeks, who seem totally sold on this concept of the wealthy angel investor sponsoring start-up after start-up, each replacing the last like a sugar daddy relationship, and any life span longer than a 22 year old's attention span is offensive and inherently untrustworthy.

"Microsoft and Aol recently concluded an agreement that had Microsoft purchasing hundreds of patents owned by Apple for the price of over $1 billion."

Uh... what? MS bought Apple patents from AOL? Who's editing this stuff?

We have contacted Aol to find out why Hotmail and Outlook.com accounts cannot be used with Alto.

Well, it's pretty simple - Alto is a web IMAP client and Hotmail / Outlook.com doesn't support this protocol.

revanmj said,

Well, it's pretty simple - Alto is a web IMAP client and Hotmail / Outlook.com doesn't support this protocol.

yeah, why support IMAP, when you can force people to exchange and use ActiveSync instead!

neufuse said,

yeah, why support IMAP, when you can force people to exchange and use ActiveSync instead!


Why use an outdated protocol like IMAP when you can use something as Exchange.

neufuse said,

yeah, why support IMAP, when you can force people to exchange and use ActiveSync instead!

I really wish my main email account wasn't with Hotmail Too bad I don't want to change it (had it for 15 years....)

Shadowzz said,

Why use an outdated protocol like IMAP when you can use something as Exchange.

I was being sarcastic, activesync is the way to go with push not pull

daniel_rh said,
AOL, I used to hear that word when I was a child...

My Grandfather had those AOL discs plus I heard america online keyword (something) like pbskids when I was little!

It's a funny leap to go from getting a CD in the mail every week from a company to now, where every time I see their name I think "Oh yeah... totally forgot they still exist."

scumdogmillionaire said,
It's a funny leap to go from getting a CD in the mail every week from a company to now, where every time I see their name I think "Oh yeah... totally forgot the exist."

Haha, i remember buying computer shopper every month and i was guaranteed an AOL cd.
Glad to see a product by them, that actually seems useful.

Lingwo said,

Haha, i remember buying computer shopper every month and i was guaranteed an AOL cd.
Glad to see a product by them, that actually seems useful.

Im dutch and we had a daughter/sub company of AOL, CompuServe. Which was my internet connection about 8-10 years ago.
As one of the few in my country already with a 20mbit connection, and at those times americans where happy with 1mbit or more.
Yet on IRC as soon as they saw my hostname, a whole battery of flaming just cause I used AOL _O-.
Untill I told em I had 20mbit with no bandwidth limits, for 30bucks a month, that did shut them up really soon though

Lingwo said,

Haha, i remember buying computer shopper every month and i was guaranteed an AOL cd.
Glad to see a product by them, that actually seems useful.

I still have an AOL floppy disk somewhere...

Shadowzz said,

Im dutch and we had a daughter/sub company of AOL, CompuServe. Which was my internet connection about 8-10 years ago.
As one of the few in my country already with a 20mbit connection, and at those times americans where happy with 1mbit or more.
Yet on IRC as soon as they saw my hostname, a whole battery of flaming just cause I used AOL _O-.
Untill I told em I had 20mbit with no bandwidth limits, for 30bucks a month, that did shut them up really soon though

It saddens me to see someone call CompuServe a daughter company of AOL, as if they sprung off of AOL.

Oh 80s/90s, where have you gone.