Outlook team hints towards the inclusion of IMAP support

With the launch of Outlook.com last month, Microsoft has tried to provide a real choice to the users. But the fans of IMAP were left disappointed as Outlook primarily supports Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) instead of the traditional IMAP. This was done because Microsoft found EAS to be fast, battery-efficient, and a long term bet. 

The Outlook team decided to hold a Q&A session at Gizmodo and it didn't take long for the users to pop-up the IMAP support question. Clarifying their decision of not supporting IMAP in Outlook.com, a member of Outlook team said,

"IMAP is an old protocol that supports only mail syncing (not calendar and people). While EAS is a better protocol as it’s fast, battery-efficient, syncs mail, calendar, people and tasks as well".

He further added," All modern phones support EAS, including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone. So, EAS is our long-term bet, and we just prioritized getting it out there before "going backwards" and working on IMAP." 

Despite supporting their decision to support EAS instead of IMAP, the representative said, IMAP is good for two things: (1) Supporting legacy phones and clients that don't have EAS suppot, (2) supporting developers who want an API to access mail. He also said that they know the importance of these two things and thus the users can expect an IMAP support for Outlook sometime down the line. However he refused to comment on any release date but said "If IMAP is really, really important to you, you should wait to upgrade."

This news will surely make the Mac and IMAP fans happy who are willing to try their hands on the new Outlook.com which is more sleek and supports integration of popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from the inbox itself. 

Source: Gizmodo

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I hope this feature will also migrate to hotmail. Lack of IMAP support is pretty much the only reason I'm looking to move away from hotmail

thekim said,
Microsoft didn't think about that not all servers are Windows and Exchange? Mine is not and hasn't EAS.

I can't think of a single EAS compatible client other than the Windows 8 Mail modern app and Outlook 2013. EAS really is the shiz imo.

They hint toward everything except solving many's problem regarding renaming Hotmail to outlook. Shame on you ((((((((

Vala.M.Z said,
They hint toward everything except solving many's problem regarding renaming Hotmail to outlook. Shame on you ((((((((

my only problem was the musthave HR for my Windows Phone, nothing else, the transition was smooth as it can be

Vala.M.Z said,
They hint toward everything except solving many's problem regarding renaming Hotmail to outlook. Shame on you ((((((((

sorry, which problems? I've upgrade 5 or more accounts and I've not experienced any problems

morden said,

my only problem was the musthave HR for my Windows Phone, nothing else, the transition was smooth as it can be

Agreed - I transitioned my Windows Live ID to Outlook.com as well (no Windows Phone, hence no issues). XBLA also transtioned fuss-free (I actually expected more problems there than Windows Phone has had to date, since it is far older).

Matthew_Thepc said,

oh, that one
I got it, but it was fixed in a day or two (though I do agree - not the greatest thing to see in the first week of release)

Still not fixed for me and may others.

Matthew_Thepc said,

oh, that one
I got it, but it was fixed in a day or two (though I do agree - not the greatest thing to see in the first week of release)

Still not fixed for me and many others.

Neobond said,

Thanks, we'll look into this, wonder how many users it supports before you have to pay for it?


500 accounts. I did read somewhere that you can contact their support team and get extra accounts, but can't really find this info anywhere now. You can't really compare the two, IMHO, gapps is a much more flexible platform. MS seems to be neglecting their custom domain offerings

Neobond said,
GMail only allows up to 50, so thats pretty rad if possible

I havent used that many myself, but i do have a client that has around 100 users and i never have any support calls from them regarding email issues, so thats good

It has its limits... no catch all for email messages, you need the hotmail connector installed on a pc to use the email account in Outlook. However you can set up the accounts on a blackberry / iphone just like you would an exchange account

georgevella said,

500 accounts. I did read somewhere that you can contact their support team and get extra accounts, but can't really find this info anywhere now. You can't really compare the two, IMHO, gapps is a much more flexible platform. MS seems to be neglecting their custom domain offerings

What are you talking about, what does it lack? it has skydrive, it has that Live Office stuff. Its a full Microsoft account when you create one with Live domains.

It can be used for Windows Phone, Widnows 8, Xbox... anywhere.

So what is it lacking?

Shadowzz said,

What are you talking about, what does it lack? it has skydrive, it has that Live Office stuff. Its a full Microsoft account when you create one with Live domains.

It can be used for Windows Phone, Widnows 8, Xbox... anywhere.

So what is it lacking?

I think alot of people are just use to Google / Gmail and are use to it, i am starting to move away from Google though myself, over to MS / Bing.

Plus the majority of the clients i have all have a personal hotmail account, so setting them up on windows live domains is great because they already know how to use it!

Shikaka said,

I havent used that many myself, but i do have a client that has around 100 users and i never have any support calls from them regarding email issues, so thats good

It has its limits... no catch all for email messages, you need the hotmail connector installed on a pc to use the email account in Outlook. However you can set up the accounts on a blackberry / iphone just like you would an exchange account

However, with Outlook 2013's support of EAS, you no longer need the Hotmail Connector; even though there is an x64 version of the Connector for Outlook 2010 x64, I was far from displeased to see the need for it mooted with 2013.

Shikaka said,

I think alot of people are just use to Google / Gmail and are use to it, i am starting to move away from Google though myself, over to MS / Bing.

Plus the majority of the clients i have all have a personal hotmail account, so setting them up on windows live domains is great because they already know how to use it!


Heh, I moved 1,5-2 years ago to go back with MS after years of Gmail. The amount of tracking and them going through my mail (automated or not, they can access it! and especially after one research here on Neowin, where a group tried to figure out what Google phoned home with Chrome, they could NOT 100% proof that Chrome was not sending back privacy related information. If you simply cant exclude that from something as simple as a browser, it means it is phoning home and they just dont want to say anything bad about Google.
Plus the Google fandroids have been scaring me, giving up all their private information, untill the exact website you visit and what your doing there. To even include medical records (wasnt going doing a bunch of medical records for some american hospitals?). I adore my privacy, I can chose to whom I share my information, what information and even the exact moment I want to share my information.

MS has no profit on its Bing services, is what drove me most back to hotmail/live/outlook. They have no interest into selling my information, and how they're doing ads on Outlook.com, only proves my point (no ads when reading a mail etc, no targetted ads from your mail contents). Google's whole bussiness model thrives on using their customers as their product. When MS released Vista, when MS wanted to properly track the usage of people's Windows (opt-in nowadays, was opt-out tho iirc) and reports for the Win7 (beta) showed how MS was using these statistics, and Win8 still shows the usage of this anonymous information. I love how MS is using your feedback, One of the few companies with software where I almost always opt-in for them tracking my usage.
But the whole world was flaming MS and their 'big brother tactics'.
Google does hell of allot worse, and (almost) everyone is cheering for such an amazing company like Google. MS hasnt ever been as worse of a company (and to the internet) as Google is. Only major advantages Google gave the world, are the Search engine and Maps/earth IMHO. 1 a school project and 1 a freetime project.

Still mind boggling how people support these Google tactics yet if any other company does even 1/10th as bad, they get flamed completely. And IF the 'ancients' of the internet (back in the 80s/early 90s) would have this in the 'old days' NOONE would accept it!

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Aug 13 2012, 4:19pm :

Shadowzz - I agree with everything, ecept...

Shadowzz said,

MS has no profit on its Bing services, is what drove me most back to hotmail/live/outlook. They have no interest into selling my information

if you look at it another way, they're making no profit, which makes them pressured to make profit, which makes them take drastic steps to increase profits, which could push them to sell user info.
but everything else is great

Ive always had problems getting the Outlook program to support IMAP Accounts properly, verious time out issues with the Gmail IMAP drive me mad.

That said though, you can setup an Outlook.com email account up like you can an exchange account, that's good enough for me.

Shikaka said,
Ive always had problems getting the Outlook program to support IMAP Accounts properly, verious time out issues with the Gmail IMAP drive me mad.

That said though, you can setup an Outlook.com email account up like you can an exchange account, that's good enough for me.

IMAP4 support started with Outlook 2010; and you could also use GMail's POP3 support (which Outlook has allowed since 2003). However, since Outlook started supporting IMAP4, the only time I had issues with it were due to network issues (normally, IMAP4 is as hands-off as Outlook's usually stellar POP3 support, which is easily the best of any mail application, which is why I've used it since 1997).

I never have understood everybody's obsession with imap. Pop has always been just fine for me, but for now it's not even relevant because more often than not I'm checking my email on the new outlook web mail site.

Darrian said,
I never have understood everybody's obsession with imap. Pop has always been just fine for me, but for now it's not even relevant because more often than not I'm checking my email on the new outlook web mail site.
IMAP allows you to manage your mailbox, where as POP just lets you read and delete..

That said, I set up my Outlook.com account via EAS, much nicer..

Ryoken said,
IMAP allows you to manage your mailbox, where as POP just lets you read and delete..

That said, I set up my Outlook.com account via EAS, much nicer..


I agree, EAS > IMAP > POP3

Ryoken said,
IMAP allows you to manage your mailbox, where as POP just lets you read and delete..

That said, I set up my Outlook.com account via EAS, much nicer..

They each have their own uses. I manage my email account using pop on my main workstation, so I have a backup of all my emails

but on my couch computer I use imap so I can see all my messages and keep them on the server for when I use pop on my workstation.

Darrian said,
I never have understood everybody's obsession with imap. Pop has always been just fine for me, but for now it's not even relevant because more often than not I'm checking my email on the new outlook web mail site.

IMAP4 is big on college campuses for two reasons - security (everything is stored server-side) and cost (less than POP3). ISPs (even most broadband ISPs) have POP3 as the default; GMail has IMAP4 as the default (but also supports POP3). Outlook itself supports both, in addition to standard Exchange (it started as an Exchange client) and EAS; thus my feeling that the IMAP4 support in Outlook.com is to put it on par with the e-mail client it is named for (Outlook).

Darrian said,
I never have understood everybody's obsession with imap. Pop has always been just fine for me, but for now it's not even relevant because more often than not I'm checking my email on the new outlook web mail site.
Because if you have several different devices, all accessing the same e-mail account using client software, POP will only let you download the message without letting you mark messages as read/unread server-side, so the change propagates to other devices. IMAP is more of a mail sync protocol than just reading. Also, it's useful if you're using a device no or limited EAS support. I find it particularly useful on the old Nokia E90 I'm now using (after losing my HTC), which can only support 1 EAS account, but pretty much unlimited POP/IMAP ones. Also, the web browsers available for the Nokia are terrible at rendering the Outlook web interfaces!