Microsoft Makes Outlook Mac’s Native Mail App Free • The Signup

Microsoft Makes Outlook Mac’s Native Mail App Free • The Signup

Do you work on a Mac, but either advantage or necessity compels you to use Microsoft Outlook? In a surprise move, the software giant is making its native MacOS mail client free to use, meaning you won’t need a Microsoft 365 subscription or an Office license to get started.

The standalone app works on multiple email platforms and has been updated with tweaks. These include the option to “always set meetings as Teams meetings”, which allows them to start or end a few minutes earlier or later; replying to messages without opening a new mail window; and for passive aggressive types, “Send the same message again quickly.”

You will need macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and above to run it.

The move is part of Microsoft’s massive effort to make its iconic email platform more web-centric. As such, one of the first comments on the TechCommunity site was this groan: “And you’re saying Mac users get a native version for free, while Windows users have to deal with a PWA (Progressive Web App)?”

Meanwhile, the Windows giant also clarified that it does not expect to upgrade Outlook for Mac to PWA, with Outlook product manager Jeremy Perdue commenting on the announcement: “Just to be clear, the new Outlook for Mac is a native macOS app. Microsoft plans to continue building and maintaining best-in-class native apps on macOS and iOS. There are no plans to create a web app version of Outlook for Mac.”

Perdue also noted that the free app is “ad supported when using a non-licensed account” – so expect in-app purchases to shift.

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Another site on Reddit pointed out that the timing was interesting, coming just a few weeks after Thunderbird, the popular open-source, cross-platform email client, was revamped: “Thunderbird is being rebuilt from the ground up, so MS thinks do it to stay ‘sticky,’” half a dozen others joked.

In 2022, Microsoft released a preview of a completely redesigned Outlook for Windows client, moving toward a “unified” look across all platforms based on the design of the web app. Since May of last year, it has been publicly testing Windows’ revamped mail application. Redmond updated its Microsoft 365 roadmap last week, saying that a switch to try out a preview of the new Outlook for Windows will be available in April for customers with access to classic Outlook for Windows and a Microsoft 365 subscription. The switch has been available to Insiders since May 2022. The Outlook Windows app is based on the web version and has been described as a hybrid between it and desktop Outlook, albeit with an updated design and some welcome extra features.

Also known as Project Monarch or the “One Outlook” client, the software is being developed with the goal of bringing uniformity between Outlook’s Windows and Web codebases. ®

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