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Follow Up On Outlook HTML+CSS Post

Note: I work for Microsoft, in the Office division, but I don’t work in or with the Outlook team. I don’t have any specific knowledge about their decisions or plans, and this post is based only my own experience here at Microsoft.

My post on Outlook’s HTML+CSS rendering generated a bit of buzz, due in no small part, I’m sure, to Zeldman linking to it from his own post. I’m finally getting some time to respond.

First of all, thanks to everyone for the responses; I am glad that this alternative viewpoint at least sparked some discussion. Despite what you may think, there are plenty of people on the “front lines” at Microsoft that really care a lot about this stuff, and we try very very hard to make sure The Right Thing (tm) happens whenever possible.

I have responded to the comments directly in the post, but I wanted to also mention that I filed two separate bugs in our internal bug database. The first covers the fact that we’re apparently not obeying your browser preference when you open an email in a browser, though this may have something to do with the actual file type that the email message gets stored as temporarily. Non-IE browsers might not register to open that file type.

The second covers the actual piss-poor rendering Outlook does of the acid test email. Thanks to Dave Greiner from the Email Standards project for providing links and addressing the questions I had in the original post. Once I had a copy of the acid test email I was able to get the bugs officially filed.

I will not be posting any further details on the status of these or other bugs, either now or after we ship, so please don’t ask. I am sorry, but it isn’t standard practice at Microsoft to reveal publicly the status of bugs, and I don’t plan on starting a trend in this particular area. It’s also frankly not my place to comment on bugs on which I am not an expert, especially those that are in areas completely separate from the ones I work on. You’ll have to take my word for it as an honest, standards-loving software developer that I filed them.

Please continue to send feedback in any way you can to Microsoft, and specifically the Outlook team. Here’s hoping for some quality HTML+CSS email rendering in the future.