Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Microsoft Adds Free Outlook Tier

Jeremy Perdue (AppleInsider, MacRumors, Slashdot, Hacker News):

Now consumers can use Outlook for free on macOS, no Microsoft 365 subscription or license necessary.

However, according to the pricing page, you need to pay in order for it to be ad-free. The new version also removes the switch to turn off the “New Outlook” user interface. You can still turn it back off using Terminal to get back features like rules and AppleScript (which are required for SpamSieve and EagleFiler) that have not yet been implemented, however that’s only allowed if you’ve paid for Microsoft 365. Otherwise, it will only run in offline mode. So, although everyone seems to be writing that “Outlook is now free,” I think it’s more accurate to say that there is a new free tier.

Microsoft updated its roadmap on March 1 to state that AppleScript will finally be implemented this month, but I don’t see anything about full rules support.

Whether at home, work or school, Mac users everywhere can easily add Outlook.com, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo! or IMAP accounts in Outlook and experience the best mail and calendar app on macOS.


With Outlook, you’ll get a modern and native user interface that has been designed and optimized for macOS.


Microsoft plans to continue building and maintaining best-in-class native apps on macOS and iOS. There is no plan to build a web app version of Outlook for Mac.

When key members of the Claris Emailer team went to Microsoft to build Outlook Express and later Entourage, I would say those were best-in-class native Mac apps. The current version of Outlook feels weird to me. It’s not a Web app, but the design feels like a hybrid of mobile, Web, and Office. It doesn’t use a Mac standard toolbar or table view. Many of the buttons look weird. Keyboard navigation is odd. There are some new cloud-based features, but overall I think “New Outlook” removed a lot of the good stuff that was in the previous Outlook, which itself removed some great features that were in Entourage.


6 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

[…] at Cornell and says it’s a capable app for email and calendaring. That said, SpamSieve author Michael Tsai points out that this free version—which he sees as a free tier of service—is ad-supported and requires the […]

Adam Maxwell

Yeah, I'm stuck using the Mac Outlook every day for work, and it's weird and clunky. It feels like using MS Office 4.2 on the Mac. Text display and font sizes are weird, it has massive amounts of wasted space in the old-style three pane view, editing doesn't support Cocoa text system keybindings, and search is worthless.

Norm Beazer

I recently purchased MS Office 2016 (now obsolete) at a price I could afford. It comes with Outlook, but there are no issues re ads as reported for the free standalone version. It once used to be that the home / personal version of Office didn't include Outlook. I am pleased to be able to try it out again. Yes, Outlook definitely has faults, but so does Mail. Regarding the three pane view, I easily managed to select the single pane view in Outlook that I prefer to use in Mail. Will Spamsieve one day work with Outlook ? That would be nice.

@Norm SpamSieve does work with Outlook, included the Office 2016 version, just not with the latest version when it’s running in free mode.

It appears that the AppleScript support has been pushed to November. This is not the first time that it has slipped on the roadmap -- I think it was originally due October or November 2022.

...and now it has been delayed to December 2024. I'm just going to assume it will be dropped from the roadmap entirely at some point before then.

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