Before you wonder how you can fix a problem of a product in another product that isn’t even out yet, let’s see what the hubbub is about. In Microsoft’s loved and hated Outlook program, the Internet Explorer engine was used to render HTML e-mails up through version 2003. Starting with Outlook 2007, however, Microsoft started using Word to both create and render HTML e-mails.
The decision to do this has a valid argument–content created and rendered in the same program will look identical for consistency. Unfortunately, Word’s support for HTML is deeply lacking compared to IE, causing many previously working e-mail messages to not be rendered correctly when Outlook 2007 was unleashed on the world. Even though there have been many complaints from users, this problem was never fixed as it was a design decision and not a bug.
Fast forward to today and Outlook 2010 is on the horizon. Microsoft has announced that they will continue to use Word as the rendering engine in the new Outlook, meaning there will be poor HTML e-mail support well into the future.
How You Can Help
The only thing we can do right now is to let Microsoft know how consumers feel about this decision. FixOutlook.org is a site dedicated to fighting for change on this issue. There are few possible solutions that Microsoft could implement, including reverting to IE as the rendering engine (unlikely at this point) or to boost Word’s rendering capabilities to be more standards compliant and closer to the level of IE. The site also lets you conveniently tweet a message on twitter to show your support and let others know of the cause. Let’s all make a racket about the issue until they agree to address it!