Long considered to be standing on the verge of digital irrelevancy, Microsoft has spent the past several years completely reinventing its image and method of connecting with computer users – specifically when it comes to the suite of Microsoft apps. As part of this process, it’s only natural that Outlook, Microsoft’s branded email platform, undergoes a makeover of its own as the organization shifts toward the Windows 10 base operating system. With this in mind, let’s spend a few minutes talking about the impending changes to Outlook, as well as what your brand needs to do to stay in the limelight once this app takes center stage on devices around the world.
What’s New with Outlook?
In her look at the new and improved Outlook app, general manager of the Office Product Management team Julia White notes that the vast majority of the changes made to this program focus on touch oriented and mobile devices. Specifically, White points to an increased usage of mobile and touchpad devices that lack a keyboard or a mouse as the primary need for a newer, hipper take on one of the oldest email platforms around.
Aside from giving you and your audience the ability to control everything about the email process with the touch of a finger, there’s also the fact that the Windows 10 version of Outlook integrates another member of the app suite – Microsoft Word – into the mix. As this statement would imply, having Word capabilities built-in means that users of this platform have the ability to insert bullet points, pictures, and tables with ease, as well as read, sort, flag, and archive mail from a visually similar platform to the paired Word app. If you’re a fan of streamlined offerings and continuity, then the news regarding this universal interface approach to the suite of Microsoft apps is definitely music to your ears.
Understanding This Step Forward
As far as the reasoning behind this makeover goes, Marketing Land’s Kevin Gallant explains that several factors led to this new take on Outlook. First, with over 50 percent of all emails being opened on mobile, touch-enabled devices, it makes perfect sense for Microsoft to catch on to this trend and build a product oriented to the majority. In fact, failing to do so would place this tech giant firmly back into the center of the discussion regarding digital irrelevancy and dated practices.
Of course, it’s also important to note that this step forward is the latest example of Microsoft’s push into the mobile world. As Gallant reports, this service provider has already offered up iOS and Android apps that cater to mobile email users, just not on the level of the impending Outlook release. In many ways, this “new” Outlook is more of an improvement on the projects already set forth by Microsoft.
While these points definitely add weight to Microsoft’s decision to rejuvenate the Outlook system, Gallant wraps up his look with the most important reason for the switch – Google’s success on the mobile and desktop fronts. Like most other cutting edge tech developments, Google has staked its claim as an industry leader on these devices with its “Inbox” app, forcing others to follow along or fall out of favor with the online community. With this in mind, the choice for Microsoft was pretty clear; get in line with the times or end up as a digital anachronism.
Bracing for Impact
Now that you understand how and why Microsoft is tweaking the knobs on its Outlook platform, it’s time to get to the root of the next two logical questions – when is this update hitting consumer devices and what can your brand do to maximize its position once the new Outlook goes live? To answer these queries, let’s start with the timeframe debate first.
As Matt Egan of Tech Advisor points out, the current iteration of this mail retrieval, storage, and editing system is currently available to insiders for testing, with a commercial release arriving at some point this summer. Thankfully, this means you have some time to get things ready before your audience makes the switch.
Essentially, prepping for this renovated platform is all about ensuring your emails continue to promote quality and value to the reader. If you’re offering up meaningful content, as well as catchy headlines and “above the fold” selections that help draw in readers via the Outlook preview pane, you’ll be just fine when the time comes to start reaching out to these viewers who reside on the cutting edge of this new and improved Outlook app.