Thanks to the folks over at Sitepoint for this heads up.
It's decisions like this that really make you wonder about Microsoft. With Outlook 2007, Microsoft is no longer going to offer rendering an email utilizing the browser. Rather they are going to utilize Word.
This will result in the following limitations in Outlook:
- no support for background images (HTML or CSS)
- no support for forms
- no support for Flash, or other plugins
- no support for CSS floats
- no support for replacing bullets with images in unordered lists
- no support for CSS positioning
- no support for animated GIFs
Permission-based email marketing is finally gaining acceptance and momentum with the mainstream. Interactions with readers is on the horizon as the next ‘big thing' through event triggering and additional data interaction.
Working for a permission-based email service provider, I was looking forward to new innovation in email clients – possibilities like Flash in Email, Video in Email, Chat in Email, even Rich Email Applications that would allow folks to interact with their banks, their work, their friends, and their applications safely and securely.
It seems Microsoft is going to change that. Microsoft dominates the email market… so they have the opportunity to really enrich the customer experience by being innovative with their product. As the market leader, it is their responsibility. Rather, they seem to have taken the easy road and failed the challenge.
These are the type of decisions that must have other email client developers salivating. If you've not heard the name Thunderbird… you absolutely will this year!
There are those in IT that may think this is a blessing, they are probably sick and tired of worrying about the security issues associated with email. However, their lives just got a little more complicated. This type of decision simply makes users download and install other applications that will support the rich interaction they are seeking. Now IT has to worry about what's next and how to control it.
One example: I remember when IT folks in one huge corporation I worked for blocked attachments in email. As a result, everyone in the company simply went out and got a hotmail address. (Last I heard, this is still the case with them).
C'mon Microsoft. You can do so much better than this! This is the type of flippant decision that is going to cause a lot of grief with Email Service Providers, Agencies, Marketers… and most of all, your users.