Microsoft adds IMAP support to Outlook.com along with third party add-ons

It's been over a year since Microsoft hinted that it would add support for the older IMAP protocol to Outlook.com. Today, the company revealed that IMAP support has now been included in its free email service on top of its support for the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol.

In a post on the official Office blog, Microsoft says that while it believes EAS is a "more robust" protocol than IMAP, there are still some devices such as Macs that have yet to support EAS. More importantly, the addition of IMAP also allows third party developers to create add-ons for Outlook.com, which was previously not the case.

Several companies are already rolling out IMAP add-ons for the service, such as TripIt, which automatically detects any emails with travel information and imports them into a TripIt itinerary. There are also some shopping-based add-ons for Outlook.com to check out such as Sift, Slice and motley*bunch.

Yet another add-on, Unroll.me, quickly stops unwanted email newsletters and puts the rest in a consolidated newsletter that a person gets just once a day. The OtherInbox add-on gives even more options on how users can manage their Outlook.com email account. Developers who want to make add-ons for Outlook.com can check out Context.IO, which has just announced that its API now supports Microsoft's service.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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33 Comments

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Just mid process of moving aliases to a new Outlook account. Waiting for the 30 days for them to become available now, shame you have to even do that!

Spicoli said,
How about OpenID authentication with a Microsoft account?

Ask the OpenID group. Microsoft tried to offer OpenID support when it first appeared, and was rejected out of politics. Microsoft asked for better security, and OpenID told them to go away.

Maybe things have changed enough that this could now happen.

I never heard of any dispute. They said they plan to implement OpenID years ago and have been silent about it since then. Especially now with Windows 8 using Microsoft Accounts, it would be very handy to be able to authenticate users with it in my web applications.

Hmmm... I may have to switch back. Do you still get the garble email address "on behalf of someone@gmail.com" when you want to use Outlook.com with your gmail address?

Shadrack said,
Hmmm... I may have to switch back. Do you still get the garble email address "on behalf of someone@gmail.com" when you want to use Outlook.com with your gmail address?

Only if you don't verify your sending address.

Nice to see this was finally added, i use EAS with Outlook 2013 on Windows, however it will be nice to actually have the ability to set my mail up in an app on OSX too.

, there are still some devices such as Macs that have yet to support EAS

It's because they're NOT allowed It's a licensing issue, EAS is only for mobile devices

Rudy said,

EAS is only for mobile devices

EAS is for any application that wants to license and use it. The Windows 8 Mail client uses it. Outlook 2013 uses it for Hotmail/Outlook.com integration. It is only limited by whom wants to license it for what.

scorp508 said,

EAS is for any application that wants to license and use it. The Windows 8 Mail client uses it. Outlook 2013 uses it for Hotmail/Outlook.com integration. It is only limited by whom wants to license it for what.

I went ahead and reread the info on microsoft's site and wikipedia and both only talk about it being available for mobile devices but I couldn't find anything that specifically said it couldn't be used for desktop apps

Rudy said,
I went ahead and reread the info on microsoft's site and wikipedia and both only talk about it being available for mobile devices but I couldn't find anything that specifically said it couldn't be used for desktop apps

That did used to be the case from what i understand, however Outlook 2013 supports EAS so i guess if you follow Microsoft's lead its now allowed.

Only for mobile devices? That's odd - Outlook 2013 - a desktop application - supports EAS - and in the x64 iteration of the application. Further, EAS happens to be Outlook.com's default protocol - not POP3 or IMAP4. (The other service that supports EAS by default is also from Microsoft - Hotmail; in fact, they use the same EAS server - m.hotmail.com.) It's more like third-party applications have no desire to license EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) because that means paying Microsoft royalties.

georgevella said,
Not even related.
Its related. I love Outlook. I can sense positive things such as this without baldy. They relate to one another just fine.

testman said,
It's not related, obv. He hasn't left, he's still working for Microsoft for the next year.
Employees attitudes, work production, and overall vision is affected by good news. This will happen to Microsoft. Old guy gone, everyone smiles, visions are expanded upon, and we consumers benefit. Just the news of him leaving in the near feature has people celebrating in the latrines at Microsoft.

You do realise that he was there running the show while this feature was being developed even before he announced his in-the-future departure? This feature has been in the works for YEARS?

Clearly him leaving is not related at all and his departure is nothing to do with the IMAP feature being developed.

JHBrown said,
Its related. I love Outlook. I can sense positive things such as this without baldy. They relate to one another just fine.
It's not related because something like this needs time to prepare for - develop, test, dog food internally, global testing, etc. Stuff needs time - 5 to 6 months for sure. Time frame puts this enhancement far before his retirement announcement. Also, Ballmer, being the CEO generally tends to dictate the direction the company needs to take - focus more on cloud services, more integration between Azure services and Windows Server, Office 365! etc. I don't see this enhancement as something of that size - he probably was informed that the Outlook team was going to deploy IMAP access but the decision to do so was probably taken at a lower stage. TLDR: even if Ballmer was not the CEO, this enhancement wouldn't have been added earlier.

georgevella said,
It's not related because something like this needs time to prepare for - develop, test, dog food internally, global testing, etc. Stuff needs time - 5 to 6 months for sure. Time frame puts this enhancement far before his retirement announcement. Also, Ballmer, being the CEO generally tends to dictate the direction the company needs to take - focus more on cloud services, more integration between Azure services and Windows Server, Office 365! etc. I don't see this enhancement as something of that size - he probably was informed that the Outlook team was going to deploy IMAP access but the decision to do so was probably taken at a lower stage. TLDR: even if Ballmer was not the CEO, this enhancement wouldn't have been added earlier.
We will see more these great things from the"Giant" once all the dead weight is gone.

JHBrown said,
We will see more these great things from the"Giant" once all the dead weight is gone.
Hopefully. But giants are slow and vulnerable.

JHBrown said,
It's related in my neck of the woods. I'm looking forward to the Microsoft I loved in 80's, 90's and 2000-2010.

You realize "baldy" was the CEO during 2000-2010 right? Oh hut wait you refuse to give him credit for anything but gladly dump all the blame on him.

JHBrown said,
Employees attitudes, work production, and overall vision is affected by good news. This will happen to Microsoft. Old guy gone, everyone smiles, visions are expanded upon, and we consumers benefit. Just the news of him leaving in the near feature has people celebrating in the latrines at Microsoft.

So your thought process is...

Steve Ballmer is leaving. YAY! Let's add IMAP support!

JHBrown said,
Employees attitudes, work production, and overall vision is affected by good news. This will happen to Microsoft. Old guy gone, everyone smiles, visions are expanded upon, and we consumers benefit. Just the news of him leaving in the near feature has people celebrating in the latrines at Microsoft.

Alternatively, old guy gone. New guy leverages MS assets to borrow zillions more dollars, sells off divisions that had been profitable, lays off thousands to pump up the stock, wrecks any possibility of true product integration that had started to manifest after the consent decree finally expired, pays billions to his crony companies, then takes his millions and leaves.

Time will tell.

smot said,

Alternatively, old guy gone. New guy leverages MS assets to borrow zillions more dollars, sells off divisions that had been profitable, lays off thousands to pump up the stock, wrecks any possibility of true product integration that had started to manifest after the consent decree finally expired, pays billions to his crony companies, then takes his millions and leaves.

Time will tell.

Damn smot! What you say is true however.