Open Letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

Last year, you introduced Windows Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) upon the world. Designers everywhere celebrated the fact that you had finally stepped up to the standards plate. IE7 isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than what we had to work with.

Pretty soon, Outlook 2007 will be moved out of beta. One might assume that it, like it’s predecessors, would use IE for rendering HTML emails. (I know that I had.) But you know what? It doesn’t. It uses Word 2007 instead.

I know, I know. There will be lots of people out there that say HTML emails suck, and they’d be right. It’s probably safe to say that most spam email is of the HTML variety. But that shouldn’t be a problem for you, Microsoft, because IE7 should take care of any security issues that might arise, right?

HTML emails are a fact of life. Introducing another rendering engine to the mix makes life difficult for businesses like the one I work for. Email marketing is not our primary focus, but a lot of our customers want to stay in touch with their customers via email newsletters.

I shouldn’t have to worry about basic CSS stuff being supported in Outlook – stuff like background images, floats, stylized unordered lists, positioning, etc. should just work – but now I do.

Word 2007 is a word processor. Despite the fact that HTML can be generated from documents created within it, doesn’t make it a logical choice for rendering HTML – that is what Internet Explorer is for. Furthermore, this decision puts my confidence in IE7 in serious jeopardy: If you won’t even use it, why should I or anyone else for that matter?

It’s probably too late, but I hope you’ll reconsider this decision.