A New Outlook

19th Feb 2024 – this morning Microsoft finally forced its “New Outlook” onto my Windows desktop.

And now, it’s broken.

I don’t mean “bugs” broken.

I mean “they want more money” broken:

Exactly one year and one day ago, I posted a favourable review of Windows Mail, the little desktop app built-in to Windows that had become my daily driver for switching between multiple email accounts (some hosted with Microsoft 365 and other non-MS accounts).

The application was clean, straightforward, error-free, and deceptively simple / powerful.

Fast forward a year, and after months of receiving notifications within the app that it would be replaced by “The New Outlook”, testing this new Outlook to find it riddled with bugs – essentially unusable – today was the day it finally switched automatically, without my input or agreement.

So here I am with a review. I’m afraid I’ve not been able to use it much, because I have a number of (paid) accounts with Microsoft on their “Business Basic” plan.

Incidentally, it wasn’t previously called “Business Basic”. A few years ago I suppose they branded it down, to set expectations amongst users that it really is the lowest-end version and certainly does not have any bells and whistles.

You want to know how “no frills” this licence has become? They even made a Mail client that blocks the use of email addresses that are on this basic plan.

That’s right, with this new desktop app:

  • you can use your free Gmail
  • you can use your free Hotmail
  • but ta-da…! You can’t add a PAID Microsoft Business account!*

* (well, not unless you pay more and upgrade it!)

So Microsoft are the first, to my understanding, to lock email down in this way, such that if you use their email client, it checks an email licence.


It used to be that Email was the one single, democratic, open standard of communication.

We joked that “snail mail” would die a death (never really imagining that could be true – yet it has turned out that way). But at least Email would always be free. After all, at its core, it’s such a simple protocol.

If there’s any doubt to what I’m saying here, then let me show you the exact error message you get when you try to add the account:

So – there it is. “NOOFFICEPROPLUS”. Just wow.

Here’s a link to view this in more detail, be prepared to see the posts of many angry users like me:


I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is the final nail in the coffin for my use of Microsoft products, not by any means.

For over a decade I’ve used iPhones / iPads but only EVER used Microsoft Windows on my laptops, servers, and desktop PCs. I was brought-up supporting these things in a corporate environment, and I like them.

But I used Mail a LOT. And I liked it.

This has kick-started my interest in moving over to Apple hardware and operating systems for work now. And it will re-ignite my interest in moving my three or four mail domains over to Google.







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