Skip to main content

Outlook for Windows RT on the way?

Windows 8 without Outlook? For some, it seems as if the champion email client in Microsoft's Office suite and the company's general operating system go hand in hand. Or, at least, a bit of frustration can hit for those who pick up a device using Microsoft's ARM-friendly Windows 8 architecture, Windows RT, only to discover that the operating system currently doesn't allow for any working version of Outlook.

For now, that is.

According to Paul Thurrott of "Supersite for Windows," Outlook might not be a lost cause on Windows RT devices. In fact, third-party Microsoft partners have allegedly been seen – by Thurrott himself – carting around Windows RT tablets with a full-fledged, working versions of Outlook running on their devices. The news confirms earlier reports Thurrott gathered back in late January that indicated Microsoft had a working Outlook ready for Windows RT, but wasn't sure what exactly to do with it.

Which is to say, it's doubtful that Microsoft plans to bake Outlook directly into Windows RT as a default app. It's more likely that Microsoft would offer the app as part of the general Office 365 subscription package. Just don't expect Office 365 (and Outlook) to hit any competing mobile operating systems before Microsoft readies Outlook for Windows RT. According to Thurrott, speaking to sources familiar with the Outlook situation, "the inference was that it would be ridiculous for the firm to provide Outlook to iPad users before it did so on its own Windows RT system."

It's unclear as to when exactly Microsoft is planning to release Outlook on Windows RT or why Microsoft's taken so long to create (or consider releasing) a working version of Outlook for its tablets. Reports have ranged from Microsoft having some kind of issue with Outlook and tablet battery life to there being incompatibility between the ARM chipset and Outlook itself, which used to cause the app to become unstable over time.

It's possible that Microsoft might choose to release Outlook for Windows RT around the same time as the company's Windows Blue update to the OS — as well, the rumoured "Gemini" update for Microsoft Office as a whole, reports ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. If so, anxious users might have to suffer with Windows RT's built-in Mail app until fall, as there isn't really a clear, front-running Outlook replacement that's making the rounds thus far on the Windows Store.