Microsoft Patches Outlook, Creates PR Nightmare

Computerworld reports that Microsoft issued a patch to deal with Outlook 2007’s sluggishness, this time for real.

I can’t say that this will 100 percent solve the latency issues, but users should see a big improvement,” – says Jessica Arnold, Outlook’s program manager.

 Why won’t it solve the latency problems?  Because they were largely introduced by design changes to accomodate:

  • RSS handling – a new feature.
  • Indexing – fixing what hasn’t worked for years, i.e. finding email.

So, is Microsoft saying it’s the improvements that brought Outlook down to its knees? Ouchsmile_sad

Arnold said that while Microsoft had started hearing about problems even before Outlook’s release to businesses last November, “until we had enough users, the data wasn’t clear.”

Oh, I’ve got it now.  This is Microsoft’s way of becoming Web 2.0 complient: “Release early, release often” – don’t test, I might add.  Sorry Microsoft, this works for startups with early-adopter techno-enthusiast users, not for the corporate world’s #1 communication platform. And where’s the “Beta” moniker, anyway?

“Outlook wasn’t designed to be a file dump, it was meant to be a communications tool,”  – says Arnold, recommending users archive their email often, reducing the size of their .PST file.

Yeah, right. For years I bought into that, and was a religious auto-archiver.  There’s only one problem with that concept: we’re not storing old email for the sake of having it: it’s for the occasional need to actually find old information.  Have you tried to open an archive.pst file?  Since the contents are not kept up-to-date in your index, you can launch “find”, than take a coffee-beak.  Better yet, go for lunch.plate

Archiving, limiting storage was indeed the only solution for a long while.  But now there is a better one.  Ever since I’ve dumped Outlook, moved ALL my archives to Gmail, my PC is fast (desktop index, online backup, virus checker all have less to do) I have an efficient, fast email system, and can retrieve any email sent/received in the past ten years in a second.  That’s the real solution to Outlook’s performance problems.

I’ll take it one step further: for doc, spreadsheet, presentation needs I use the Zoho Suite.  Signing documents: EchoSign.  Incidentally, I am typing this on an offline editor, while sitting on BART, on my way to the first Web 2.0 Expo session: Ismael Ghalimi presenting how he runs his business entirely on Web-based services.

Update (4/16): Built For vs. Used For by Jeff Nolan.


  1. Anonymous says:

    “This is Microsoft’s way of becoming Web 2.0 complient: “Release early, release often” – don’t test, I might add”

    As opposed to ‘release early, release rarely’ as before.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Haha… I think “rarely” still stands for real product releases, “often” is for the patches to patches which fix the problems caused by patches 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ever since I’ve dumped Outlook, moved ALL my archives to Gmail, my PC is fast

    Unfortionately, for most corporate users — the people for whom saving email is a legal and/or company requirement — gmail isn’t a realistic option. With Microsoft being such an email-centric company I can’t understand why such a problem exists (or maybe they all know a more efficient way to save their email that’s not so obvious to the rest of us).

  4. Anonymous says:

    Attensa for Outlook 2007 takes care of the Outlook RSS feed issues. It’s an elegant workaround.

    Check out their coverage of the PR nightmare here:

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I used Attensa from their very early releases… all the way till I abandoned Outlook.

    But Janet, coming from you, it’s “our coverage”, not “theirs”… 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Zoli, curious of what you think of this solution to PST/Search/Archiving issues. BTW, also curious, since you dumped OL, if you use Gmail labels. We have the ability to tag Gmail with the same interface.


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