Is Outlook for Windows RT getting closer to launch?

A few weeks ago, we reported that NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said he was praying to the "Outlook God" to release a version of the Outlook email client for Microsoft's Windows RT OS. Huang said if that event were to happen, "My life would be complete." Microsoft has never announced any official plans to bring Outlook to the ARM-based OS.

Now there's word that Microsoft might be letting people outside the company test a version of Outlook for Windows RT. Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite claims he saw the client running on two separate Surface RT tablet while visiting the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington this week. Thurrott says the tablets were not owned by people who actually work for Microsoft.

So what's been the holdup for the launch of Outlook for Windows RT? The same article claims that a firmware issue in the ARM chipset was causing previous versions of Outlook to crash after an unspecified period of time. Presumably this issue has since been fixed if Microsoft is letting people outside the company test Outlook for Windows RT.

It's likely that if and when Outlook for RT is launched, it would be provided as an additional email client to the Modern Mail client that's already included in Windows RT and Windows 8. ZDNet reports from their own sources that we might have to wait until fall 2013 for Microsoft to launch Outlook for Windows RT. However, that same report also claims it could be released sooner as part of an overall feature update to Office 365. We know one major technology company CEO who would like it sooner rather than later.

Source: WinSuperSite | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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With the availabilty at lauch, I would say it's selling pretty well for a first time device and OS.
Don't forget iPad and Android tablets have been out there for a while, and any newcomer would need some time to get noticed by the 'common man'.

It takes some time to remove the distorting bubbles Apple and Google erected......

RT is a mess. Who is looking to buy an RT device over an iPad or an android tablet and why? The sales numbers speak for themselves, almost no one.

derekaw said,
RT is a mess. Who is looking to buy an RT device over an iPad or an android tablet and why? The sales numbers speak for themselves, almost no one.

I disagree, I think Android tablets are a bigger mess.
Agree about the iPad though.

You obviously have not used an Android tablet... lol. They are a MUCH bigger mess. And unlike the iPad, with Win RT you get a full productivity experience - not just limited to mobile apps. Yes, RT can (and will be) drastically improved, but it's still miles better than the iPad experience for those looking to do actual work.

I personally think they should just replace the current Mail app with Outlook. Unify the mail experience across all devices/services.

muffinsyay said,
Why would they make an additional mail app instead of just improving the current? The current supports Outlook emails.

Corporate people out there have their entire daily agendas laid out on Outlook and only Outlook. Improving the mail app isn't going cut it!

jimmyfal said,
Put out Outlook RT, shave $200 off the price of Surface, and watch it fly. Boost that thing.

200 and outlook is only the start of the problem. It seems people don't really want to do real work on a tablet after all or maybe people can already do real work on existing tablets that don't run an MS OS.

Actually the issue from my perspective is simply 'time'

I completely intend on buying a Windows 8 hybrid, either a surface or a 13" transformer book. However I don't need it yet, my windows 7 laptop still works fine...ish. My android tablet was ok for notes in lectures but it's useful for any other productivity or work.

At some point in the next 3 years I'll get some money together and be on a nice MS tablet hybrid, but well...time =)

Perception is reality. iPads have a foothold with many at the moment. I have a customer, a woman, who told me she chose an iPad over the Surface because it would fit in her purse, even though she uses Microsoft Word all the time on her PC.

So I picked up my Surface, and held it next to her iPad, which by now had a cover with stand, and a Bluetooth keyboard, and I held them side by side. The Surface would have fit in her purse just fine, the iPad was now relegated to being outside the purse pretty much the size of a full laptop.

If that Surface had been $200 cheaper, she would not have even considered the iPad. I agree with ChristopherSmith, time needs to move ahead, as mindshare grows. It's a marathon, not a sprint. You can't run a sprint with front runners that are miles ahead in mindshare.

As noted, the price rarely has anything to do with a iPad users decision, so I still don't see how devaluing the Surface wins those sales.

Per Derek's point, I don't see devaluing the device winning those simplistic users either who have little need or allegiance to MS.

I think they should sell it for those who don't want to do the office 365 thing yet and really just need outlook rt along with lync and any in-house apps to get their work done.

GP007 said,
I think they should sell it for those who don't want to do the office 365 thing yet and really just need outlook rt along with lync and any in-house apps to get their work done.

I think it should be given free on RT to promote the use of the devices.