Microsoft has added support for Internet message access protocol (IMAP) to Outlook.com, its web-based email service.
Announced first on Reddit and later in a blog post, there's little practical impact in the change, other than posisbly encouraging more developers and users to point their email clients at Outlook.com.
As Microsoft puts it, “While we believe that Exchange ActiveSync is the most robust protocol for connecting to your email … IMAP is widely supported on feature phones and other email clients such as those on a Mac.” Switching on IMAP therefore makes it more likely those not utterly committed to Microsoft might consider Outlook.com,
That IMAP is venerable and leaving it out of Outlook.com has not gone un-noticed, as the Tweet below shows.
**slow clap** Well done MSFT - http://t.co/mhgJQuRqh7 now supports an email protocol that has been the backbone of email since 1986— ajfisher (@ajfisher) September 13, 2013
Adding OAuth means Redmond can let all manner of web app providers hook into Outlook inboxes, the better to siphon out email and mash it up. Examples offered include using the travel site Tripit, which thanks to oAuth “can now detect emails with travel confirmations in any Outlook.com inbox, and automatically import them into a TripIt itinerary.”
With many users less-than-entirely comfortable with even text ads appearing alongside their email, what could possibly go wrong with an app like that? ®