While it is pretty much the standard email client, Microsoft Outlook has long had problems rendering HTML correctly in emails. And the latest version, Outlook 2010, due sometime in the next several months, doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better — and it actually may be worse. And a lot of users aren’t happy about it at all.
A group of people apparently felt strongly enough to create a site called Outlook’s broken — Let’s fix it. The site is simple, it’s a constantly updating stream of users tweeting out their desire for Microsoft to fix this problem with Outlook. Right now, it’s just about 6,000 tweets, but it’s growing about a tweet every second (even at this hour of the night here in the U.S.). When a new tweet comes in, that user’s icon appears on the screen next to hundreds of other icons that had previously tweeted about it. And as the stream updates, random tweets about fixing Outlook are flashed on the screen.
Here’s the text from the site:
Microsoft have confirmed they plan on using the Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010.
This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more. Want proof? Here’s the same email in Outlook 2000 & 2010.
Outlook 2010 is still in beta and Microsoft wants your feedback. It’s time to rally together and encourage Microsoft to embrace web standards before it’s too late.
Let’s use Twitter to send a clear message to Microsoft.
Join 5,927 others asking Microsoft to improve standards support and make sure you include fixoutlook.org in your tweet. We’ll pull together every tweet that includes the link here to give Microsoft a unified message from the community.
Again, to have your voice heard in this cause, simply include the http://fixoutlook.org/ URL somewhere in your tweet. Here’s the comparison image of what HTML rendering looks like in Outlook 2000 versus what it will look like in Outlook 2010.
Update: Here’s some info on who created the site:
Who built the site?
This site is the brainchild of the Email Standards Project, an organisation working with email client developers and the design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in email.
Update 2: A day later, the number of tweets in support of this has grown to 20,000. Microsoft has responded, saying basically that Outlook isn’t broken and that, “There is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability.”
Hmm, I don’t see these types of campaigns against any of the other email clients though. Expect this campaign to continue.