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back to article Despite Microsoft Surface RT debacle, second-gen model in the works

Nvidia's CEO says his company is working with Microsoft on a second-generation Surface RT, and that he believes it has a chance of success – even though the original Surface RT tablet was an utter flop – because it will include Microsoft Outlook. "It is the killer app for Windows," Huang told Cnet. "Now we're going to bring it …

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Really?

Is someone REALLY believing that Outlook is the one killer application that will make or break the second gen RT? I have a bridge going cheap!

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Re: Really?

Actually, they might have a point.

Our company arguably runs more on Microsoft Outlook than Microsoft Windows. Assuming that Microsoft reduced the pricing for the new tablet to slightly under the ipad price then it would stand a good chance of making some traction in companies with exchange servers, and there are a lot of exchange servers out there.

That's not a huge amount of the total tablet market, but I think Microsoft would be happy with a 5% market share of that market, because they'll probably get another couple of percent with the next version, and they'll likely keep it up until people stop laughing at them regardless of how much it costs them. Remember that every x-box microsoft sells costs them ~$150, I can see them pulling the same stunts with tablets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

Anyone want to buy some used toilet paper?

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Re: Really?

Peter2, the one HUGE fallacy of your point is that you say "Our company". How many of your employees are forwarding all of their email to Gmail, and then managing it from their. I have also worked for large companies and universities, and people HATE outlook. They use it only when forced to. As soon as Microsoft realizes that the days of strong-arming people are gone, they'll start making something worthwhile. Why do people buy Apple products? Because they're attractive and they actually work in intuitive user-friendly ways. I cut my teeth on PC, but my iPad is a VERY nice product. It just doesn't do as much as I'd like.

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Re: "It just doesn't do as much as I'd like."

And there's one problem right there. It looks as if RT does even less.

It doesn't help matters that MS makes their RT app store so obscure. If I want a finance app I can see the personal finance apps for windows phone but not for RT unless I'm on RT or W8. Apple makes it easy even with two stores since the iOS store has a nice big simple link to their Mac store. Google only has one store for their devices and there are others stores available also. Why can't MS have one place to find simple links to their store or even better one store where people can filter out what they don't want? Why is it such a hassle to develop apps and why do I need my credit card handy to register?

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Re: Really?

Zero. I'd know, i'm the sysadmin. Personal email accounts might be popular for individuals, but it's not for businesses.

The killer feature of outlook is delegation. In a business it is reasonably common for an assistant to open her bosses calendar, check he's free and book in a meeting and then send an email to the client from the bosses email address.

No company who wants to stay in business is going to accept the use of Gmail, especially not if they happen to compete against American companies for contracts of any value or otherwise communicate about anything important.

Hence, amongst businesses a tablet with outlook at a reasonable price might actually sell. Assuming that it's available from people who supply to us. Without it getting pushed by the channel Microsoft is going to struggle.

That said, I suppose the Microsoft effort to assign every single small business with an account manager directly from Microsoft now actually makes a modicum of sense if they are planning on selling tablets to us, bypassing the established channel. I thought it seemed like a lot of effort to see if we wanted to buy a bunch of upgrade licenses, given that they were offering credit and long term repayment for buying licenses I would imagine that they would do similar for tablets, which might make the license effort part of an effort to establish relationships for the future to sell direct bypassing the channel.

Interesting.

We might have underestimated our chair throwing friend.

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They may be forwarding their emails from Outlook to gmail, but they still have to use the former for their diaries, arranging meetings etc. Outlook isn't a one trick pony, remember. It might not be a thoroughbred, but its value to many businesses is immense.

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Re: Really?

Peter2,

You say Outlook is a killer application for tablets. And I'd agree. I thought Microsoft was a software company and not a hardware company. Release Outlook for the iPad, and sure enough Microsoft would be onto a winner.

But to hold Outlook back for it's own hardware solution. I doubt it.

Who are you going to give these Microsoft Surface tablets to? The CEO, the boss? Doesn't he already have his own iPad that he has already asked you to give access to the network to? The executive directors? Don't they already have iPads?

"But, this has Outlook on it", is you're reply.

"Then bloody put Outlook on this", will be his reply as he throws his iPad at you, "isn't that what I pay you for?"

I'd like to be in the room with the directors and executives when you do your pitch Peter, if you manage it, you're in the wrong profession and you most certainly should be in Sales.

Speaking of Sales, they're your next likely targets, well, at least the road warriors. Don't they want iPads? Isn't the sales director going to say exactly the same thing as the CEO? "Bloody put Outlook on my iPad then!"

I can't see any other division in an organisation that needs tablets? The front desk perhaps, if you're a flash company. But if you're a flash company, wouldn't you have iPads, what with them being the premium brand and everything.

I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. You're assuming that your boss is going to simply cave in and go "Oooh, a shiny surface that I had to give my iPad up for because my cretin of a system admin can't install Outlook on it!!"

As I say, tough sell, if you pull it off, change jobs.

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Re: Really?

Is there any reason to think that Outlook DOESN'T have backdoors for the CIA/NSA?

Any company which competes against US companies for contracts of any value, at least in the defense or energy businesses, should not discuss sensitive details in unencrypted mail or cellphones period, and if it's a major defense contract, for fighter jets say, it's probably wise to assume that the full force of US intelligence community is being used against them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?@AC20:50

Downvoted for not using a more imaginative word other than 'C**T'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

A firesale tablet that only useful for email, any company would be insane to buy it just for that.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Really?@AC20:50

Laughed at for filling a cunt with stars.

You can read that sentence any way you wish.

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FAIL

Re: Really?

Delegation is not a feature of outlook, its a server side feature which outlook just happens to provide an interface for. There's no reason that many other clients can't do exactly the same thing (and indeed several do).

As for "competing against american companies", remember microsoft were just as complicit in handing data over to the NSA as google, and by running exchange and outlook your data is once again held on systems controlled by a large american corporation which is beholden to the NSA. Sure it might physically reside on your premises, but do you honestly believe MS couldn't gain access to it and hand over all your data to the NSA should they wish to? And if you don't like it, read the licence agreement again.

At the end of the day, people use outlook because both it and exchange are entrenched and neither work properly with anything else. Not because anyone likes it, not because anyone has done a proper analysis and found it to be the best tool for the job. People generally hate outlook, and use it because it's just what they were given at work. Given a proper choice, very few people would choose it.

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Joke

stars

To quote Dave Bowman: "MY GOD IT'S FULL OF STARS!"

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fzz

Re: Really?

C'mon, don't you know the only reason people under 30 don't use e-mail like old folks is because they haven't had a nifty mobile device running Outlook?

Who needs hundreds of thousands of apps when they can get MS Office?!

Maybe Windows 8.2 will come with Project RT.

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fzz

Re: Really?

What about the awkward detail that Office Home & Student has a noncommercial use license? NBD if everyone with a Surface RT also had a desktop or laptop with a commercial use Office license dedicated to their exclusive use. However, you can't REPLACE desktops and laptops with Windows RT tablets and use Office Home & Student for work.

It seems constant reminders are needed whenever comparisons are drawn between Surface/Windows RT and Xbox. Xbox lost money its first few years, but it also sold out in its first 2 holiday seasons. It was clear Xbox would become profitable. Surface/Windows RT are no where close to that type of sales activity. Rather they're much closer to Zune.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"How many of your employees are forwarding all of their email to Gmail"

Pretty much zero in most enterprises. Users are not permitted to automatically forward email to external addresses without specific approval in 99% of large companies...also Gmail are loosing large volume of customers to Outlook.com now that people are starting to realise that The Borg reads all your emails and send you targeted SPAM based on the contents. And targets adverts across the internet at you based on your email contents...l

"and people HATE outlook"

Can't say that's my experience. Having worked in dozens of enterprises I would say most people actively want and prefer Outlook in preference to any other option including webmail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"Is there any reason to think that Outlook DOESN'T have backdoors for the CIA/NSA?"

I doubt that there are backdoors in the software. American laws allow for more direct access methods, meaning that it simply isn't needed.

And even if there were, then I would expect pretty much all software originating or in anyway under the control of Americans to be in exactly the same boat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"which outlook just happens to provide an interface for"

So it is a feature of Outlook as stated. The fact that you might be able to do the same via other software, and that some stuff happens on the server end doesn't change that fact.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"What about the awkward detail that Office Home & Student has a noncommercial use license"

It's easy to get the correct license if you want it, and not very expensive.

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Stop

Re: Really?

WTF?

Microsoft Outlook is an Application. What kind if fucktard marketing gimboid thinks that it should be restricted to a "second generation device". Why not release a full version of it for the current device?

On the other hand as the core code (a.k.a. bugs that have been around for years and still not fixed) is doubtless a ghastly spaghetti mess of undocumented function calls and crafted insanity it may take them a few years to get it to compile on a different platform.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

Except they are giving it to 1st generation Surface devices, you can get it now with the Windows 8.1 preview or wait until 8.1 is released.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

This. Seriously. MS wake up and smell the coffee. Outlook for ipad, I'd pay 50 - 60 quid for it in the app store.

They'd probably make a killing overnight.

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FAIL

Re: Really?

The RT was shit for many many reasons. you couldn't even install Silverlight on them - a Microsoft plugin FFS! Outlook wont save them. Most organisations that use outlook also use OWA. The new incarnation of OWA is pretty slick. That and aren't MS trying to wean people onto their cloudy web O365 anyway?

It has even more fail written on it.

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Re: Really?

I'm another of those users. Mac user, mind, but the Outlook client is godawful (the web client is even worse), so I bypass it completely and use Apple Mail (talking to Exchange). Undoubtedly, somewhere I'm still counted as having an Outlook license...

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Mushroom

Yes Outlook used to be great

Until they screwed it up by changing the PST formats between versions. Nothing is a killer app. any more unless it is cross platform. Without that today you are toast.

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Re: Yes Outlook used to be great

Are you referring to the change in the 2007 version to allow files bigger than 2GB? It's not like the old ones don't work?

Or are you referring to something else?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes Outlook used to be great

"Nothing is a killer app. any more unless it is cross platform. Without that today you are toast."

Outlook already runs on anything that has more than a 1% market share on the desktop - e.g. both Macs and PCs.

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Re: Yes Outlook used to be great

we went from 2003 ->10->13 and noticed no difference. Sure the PST changed format (so you cannot run older PST recovery) but functionality hasn't batted an eyelid.

It was a minor pain running an extension to outlook to copy the old "autocomplete" over but that was a minor inconvenience for users to do once.

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Fabulous

"So now I'll be able to get that spreadsheet using my much liked Outlook, but I still won't be able to modify it or tweak the charts and embed it in the PowerPoint presentation I'm making this afternoon."

- University Student

Who the hell is this product aimed at? It certainly isn't the professional and it can't be for students, is it aimed at anyone? Does it have a purpose? I don't believe it does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fabulous

As much as I like to hate on the Surface RT, I believe it has always come with Excel and PowerPoint so the student will definitely be able to tweak charts, etc.

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Meh

Re: Fabulous

"Who the hell is this product aimed at? It certainly isn't the professional and it can't be for students, is it aimed at anyone? Does it have a purpose? I don't believe it does."

Well being a bit paranoid for a moment...

It appears to have the sole purpose of making ARM powered hardware look like crap. Few people realize that their cell phones are ARM powered as they are hidden inside others SoC so MS can start the "ARM powered mobile devices are crap" meme going.

Keep in mind the last dodgy benchmark that showed Intel give brilliant power consumption next to ARM, and the fact that most of things people are complaining about are controlled directly by MS.

The MS/Intel relationship goes back to the days when MS contracts charged PC makers for the number of processors they bought, not the number of MS licenses.

Intel and MS are the Mickie & Mallory Knox of IT. The word "normal" does not apply to their business relationship.

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I work for a university in Australia and Microsoft are offering us Surface RT tablets for just over $200 apiece (without cover). I'm currently evaluating one running a preview version of the 8.1 version of the OS. It does have Outlook, but I can't get it to configure - I suspect it may be something to do with the corporate firewall. Anyway, if Outlook works on it, I'll probably get one as all other aspects of it seem fine. Speaking as an unabashed Apple user (iMac, Mac Mini, 2 Apple TVs, 2 iPhones, iPod and iPad in my house), the killer app for me would be the iOS remote app - then I'd sell my ipad ad buy a Surface RT.

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Anonymous Coward

So you have all the Apple iDevices and now you want one of these?

Just about sums you up doesn't it?

Oh dear.

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> offering us Surface RT tablets for just over $200

> I'd sell my ipad ad buy a Surface RT.

So, if it had iOS apps you would buy it for $200 after selling the iPad for more.

That about sums up Surface RT's problems.

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FAIL

Firewall..

That's hardly surprising, the protocols outlook uses to talk to exchange (and back again) are not the sort of thing you want to be opening up over the internet... Such protocols are usually restricted to LAN use, or possibly over a VPN... And good luck getting a vpn client installed on windows rt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Firewall..

"the protocols outlook uses to talk to exchange (and back again) are not the sort of thing you want to be opening up over the internet... "

I think you would be in trouble even using the internet if HTTPS was not permitted - which is all that Outlook requires....

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Re: Firewall..

outlook uses RPC over HTTP(S forced of course). Cant see the issue in opening HTTPS up; which you probably did for OWA anyway.

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Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

This is truly unbelievable. I've been around PC's and Windows (and DOS) for a long time, and, if they think Outlook is going to save them, they TRULY do have their heads stuck in the sand. As it is, they have to twist people's arms to use Outlook in any form. Even then, those who are forced to use it just forward all their email to their Gmail account. Regarding the Surface, it's not a bad idea, but the standard keyboard was the pits from the get-go. I'm a good typist and I couldn't use it. Microsoft must have not done one iota of focus group testing on this thing. If I don't have the tactile response of the keys, I'm all over the place. Heck, I can't even find the backspace key to correct all my mistakes on the Surface keyboard. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Microsoft operating systems, and I also like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. (They can keep Outlook.) And I also like the idea of a tablet that will run a version of Word and Excel. I'm also a programmer and wouldn't mind a tablet style computer for writing and test-compiling Microsoft's languages. I currently carry a high-powered laptop AND an iPad. If I could combine these in a reasonable tablet-with-keyboard, I'd be delighted. What kinds of things to I typically do? Lots of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; browse (with Firefox, NOT IE) which also doubles for checking my email; perform SPSS analyses; play a few games; get on SecondLife; do some programming. Give me something small I can grab, go to lunch, and still easily do all these things and I'll buy it. Get a clue, Microsoft. The days are gone when you can cram things down people's throats. Apple figured this out LONG ago. Also, quit trying to sell your software through your hardware.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

I can't help but think that this comment is purely Apple fanboism, with a bit of "I love Word" thrown in to make yourself sound like less of a fanboi. I don't know anybody who "loves" Word... we use it because it's still the most powerful word processor on the market and has global acceptance. Excel is still the best spread sheet. PowerPoint just has global acceptance, but Apple have an excellent alternative, but we aren't going to run a single Apple presentation suite that isn't compatible with the rest of the world when PowerPoint will "do".

You truly do seem to have no idea how big corporations and big Government departments work... Very, very few of large scale business/government use anything but Outlook, not just because of it's email - it's everything else it does... meeting organisation, task management, seamless integration with our SharePoint servers, high level of customizability, and so on. Gmail simply is not a serious, big business email application... we trialled it, and staff found it harder to do basic stuff such as Filters on email, and when you have a massive amount of email you need to do things quickly and easily... Gmail CAN do what they need, it's just whether it does it better and more quickly, and in that respect, it doesn't.

Don't underestimate the power of Outlook in big business. I don't expect it to help Microsoft to sell a lot of RT's as that is a consumer oriented product, but I DO think Microsoft will try very hard to maintain their Corporate presence, and I think the RT is designed to be the easy, "go-to" device that will be used by Corporations on the move due to things such as battery life.

Firefox is bloated and suffers just as many issues as IE10 does, they are just different issues. I find Chrome to be the best browser on the market, but I have to regularly test using FF, IE (8+), Chrome & Safari (for the Fanboi's) at work... and what sort of programmer does SPSS analysis these days? I stopped doing that when I stopped doing spatial and statistical analysis... :-)

Also, one last thing, if your really a programmer, you wouldn't really be serious about doing stuff on a tablet. I certainly am not interested, which is why I have dual 2560x1440 27" monitors at home and dual 30" DELL's at work... I would never, ever try and do any kind of serious development on ANY kind of tablet... that's just horribly inefficient.

Apple didn't figure out Jack long ago... they had a great fibber, thieving leader who helped designed some really nice products (iPod, iPhone 1, then on to a big 9.7" iPhone)... but that's pretty much it. Apple can't innovate to save themselves anymore, and no serious corporation will ever pick up Apple in a big way... in other words, from a corporate point of view, Microsoft don't NEED to sell their software through their hardware, but they WANT to have a hardware presence, and they will keep trying. They have the resources, now they just need some talent to make it work.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

Outlook is a key component in many, many operations, big and small. Our operation would be greatly hobbled if we didn't have Outlook.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

>> Excel is still the best spread sheet.

No, Excel is the most commonly used spreadsheet. It was left in the dust in terms of features by Improv and Quantrix, and still hasn't reached where they were 20 years ago. Excel is probably the number one example of a market leader stifling innovation to the point of holding the market back.

As for Windows RT, I' sure MS will manage to improve on that $900M writeoff.

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Outlook filters? Hah!

Outlook's mail filters and rules are hideous, though did get slightly better with recent versions because "and stop" is finally turned on by default when making new rules.

- I still can't figure out why my rules behave differently from what the order and content seems to say, and there is no way to test a rule other than to run it, then you can't revert it to try again...

Gmail does it much better - if only because it shows you example emails that will get picked up by the filter.

Editing rules is horrible on them both because their interfaces are really poor once you have more than 10 or so, but at least gmail helps you more when making them.

Plus the whole concept of email "folders" is flawed. Many emails fit in many folders - which one do I put it in? Labels make far more sense because it can go in all appropriate labels.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

If you look at the output of Word and compare it to the output of LaTex it still looks awful. (Even for normal text you know when you use LaTex it is going to look great).

Presentation and content should be kept separate I know that much. Better to not be messing about with formatting whilst you are trying to do something.

Dunno about Excel really it is far too much effort to do most things. (When compared to Matlab or Mathematica).

People rarely choose the best of anything though.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

If I wanted to program my reports instead of typing them, I'd use LaTex.

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Devil

Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

At least in Word you can amuse yourself countless hours to get the layout just right, then you add a character ... and you need to start over again.

Seriously, the basic concepts of Word are pretty ass. WYSIWYG might work, if someone actually knew how to give the user actual control about what's he's trying to do.

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Re: Wow, it truly is amazing the mis-steps Microsoft is making.

What a load of cock.

Gmail sucks. Really sucks. And I say that as someone who has his main email on Gmail. Business uses Outlook. We do, many others do, and the chasmistic difference in usefulness Outlook has over Gmail (or any other third rate webmail service) is like saying I would forward my pint of Guiness to a glass of cat piss.

Jesus H on a bike.

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Re: Outlook filters? Hah!

Outlook has had "search folders" which work exactly like GMail's labels for years now, it's not like you lose functionality by going from GMail to Outlook. The same most definitely can't be said of the other way around. I use GMail for my personal email account, but in all honestly that's only because I know that 99% of what ends up in there is incredibly transitory and I don't ever expect to have to worry about much in there that's older than about a week. I really can't say the same about work emails, which contain important conversations that span months at a time.

I still don't think that Outlook alone is going to save Surface RT, though it was definitely perceived as the "missing" component from Office, so having it there is definitely a plus. A better screen resolution, allowing you to actually take advantage of the side-by-side multitasking in RT would make for a much easier sell if you ask me. And the Store needs major improvements to help you actually find useful apps (I know this is supposedly coming in 8,1 too)

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Re: Outlook filters? Hah!

outlook strengths are in the calendars and scheduling. Works lists are meh but all under one roof. The ability for multiple people to have shared calendars and tasks with different levels of control is the ONLY reason we use outlook.

Zimbra would be my second choice over exchange and thus ditching outlook if people didn't use this functionality.

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