Microsoft is replacing the previous Mail and Calendar app in its operating system with Outlook. It's not just data protection advocates that see this as a problem.
Microsoft is discontinuing the Mail and Calendar apps in Windows. These two programs are replaced by one program. This change is currently underway: legacy apps can still be used, but Microsoft is increasingly indicating that they will soon disappear.
The new hybrid program is called Outlook. The confusion starts with the name: There's also a program called Outlook in Microsoft Office (now Microsoft 365), but it has only a few points of overlap with the new free app. To avoid confusion, Microsoft refers to it colloquially as “the new Outlook.”
Plus: sorted inbox
At first glance, the new Outlook appears to be an improvement over the two apps it replaces: it has a more modern interface and contemporary features. Your inbox is automatically sorted into important and less important emails. The distinction between “related” and “other” is arbitrary at first, but the app learns as users move emails manually, and thus improves this sorting process over time. Another practical function is “Reminder”: it moves currently irrelevant messages out of the inbox and puts them back in at a later, more relevant time.
But apart from that, many view the new app as a step backwards: Author of computer magazine “PC World” Criticize Confusion: Microsoft has literally piled confusing elements on top of each other, he complains. Another drawback of the new app is that it only works online; Unlike classic email programs, which allow you to organize or respond to messages even without an Internet connection. It's not suitable for local email archives either. But this is necessary to reduce reliance on the cloud and improve privacy protection.
Hundreds of companies are tracking
One disruptive factor in daily life is Microsoft promoting its paid software Microsoft 365 and Onedrive in the app. The app is ad-supported for customers without a subscription; Advertisements also appear in the form of emails. Swiss postal provider Proton – and Microsoft's competitor – criticized the practice in a blog post at the beginning of January He denounced: Microsoft appears to have “turned its email app into a monitoring tool for targeted advertising.”
In fact: The Data Protection Declaration lists hundreds of advertising partners who “may access and use users’ information” – 722 in total. From a user's perspective, this is a huge deterioration: previous mail and calendar apps worked without ads. Until now it was common for the corresponding software to be part of the operating system and paid for through licensing fees, rather than through advertising.
The German Data Protection Officer has been alerted
That's not all: the specialized magazine “Heise.de” will be opened at the end of November 2023 ProvenThat access data for mail accounts with smaller service providers (so-called Imap accounts) is transferred to Microsoft. Emails from these accounts are synced across Microsoft's servers and can be analyzed and evaluated there – something that very few users are likely aware of. After the publication, German Federal Data Protection Officer Ulrich Kelber and Thuringia State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Lutz Haas expressed concern and cautioned about the new predictions.
With the new Outlook, Microsoft does not sufficiently take into account the needs of users and data protection. A simple email application that displays no ads, collects no data, and does not direct users to their own products should exist in an operating system like Windows.
There are reasons to avoid Outlook: Use Mozilla Thunderbird instead (thunderbird.net) or your email provider's webmail application.
Matthias Schuessler He is a digital editor who reports on news from technology, software and hardware companies and provides help on how to use smartphones, computers and gadgets with confidence.More information@Mr.Kleko