Windows Live Mail Undermines Mobile Computing

Microsoft is terminating Windows XP's Outlook Express and Vista's Windows Mail programs.  When Windows 7 ships later in 2009, only Windows Live Mail will be offered. Unfortunately, the usability of Windows Live Mail on 800 x 600 screens is a big step backwards from Microsoft's previous email programs.  There is a huge amount of wasted space and it is not possible to fit a reasonable amount of functionality onto the screen. Since 800 x 600 screens are common in mobile computers such as netbooks and Tablet PCs this inattention to small screens is a problem for using Windows for mobile computing. 

A first assessment was posted here in April 2008 and is now updated for Version 2009 of Windows Live Mail (build 14.0.8050.1202), which has some minor improvements.  However, the major problems are still there:

None of these problems would be particularly difficult to fix.  Cloning the iPhone interface is not what is needed; all Microsoft would have to do is provide a workable option for suppressing the separation of multiple accounts, as was available in previous Microsoft email programs.  Mobile computers such as netbooks are one of the major trends in computers.  Unless the problems of Windows Live Mail on small screens are fixed before Windows 7 ships, Microsoft will be left without a workable offering in one of the most commonly used categories of software.  As with the situation with Internet Explorer, this may herald a shift to other programs such as Thunderbird.

Copyright 05-Sep-2009 Mickey Segal.  If you have workarounds, new annoyances or corrections. please let us know.  See also Mobility Use Case for Tablet ComputersBrowser Annoyances and Vista Annoyances.