Microsoft today announced IMAP support for Outlook.com globally during a Reddit AMA while also revealing that that it has also implemented the open standard for authorization – OAuth, thereby facilitating developers to build their applications around Outlook.com.
Microsoft was pushing back the support for IMAP for quite a while now all the while insisting that its Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is the best email connectivity option in the industry. Microsoft claimed that the EAS feature is available on most of the mobile devices – smartphones as well as tablets – encompassing all major mobile operating systems likes iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
However, support for IMAP is vital to all those users who don’t have a device at that disposal capable of EAS connectivity. This is true for users using Apple’s Mac OS X and applications like Mail and Thunderbird for Mac.
“Hey, this is Steve from the Outlook.com team. It wouldn’t be an AMA session without an IMAP question 🙂 I’m excited to announce that starting right now we DO support IMAP, and we wanted you folks to be the first to know. Go check it out”, noted Microsoft during the AMA.
Microsoft made the announcement official through its blog noting that despite the fact that “EAS is the most robust protocol for connecting to your email, with syncing in near real time, and superior battery and network efficiency, there are still some devices and apps that haven’t made the upgrade to EAS.”
“As an older protocol, IMAP is widely supported on feature phones and other email clients such as those on a Mac. We heard your feedback loud and clear that this was important”, Microsoft added.
Redmond is also including support for OAuth thereby enabling developers of third party application to easily and safely integrate with Outlook.com. Microsoft has initially announced support for TripIt, Sift, Slice, motley*bunch, Unroll.me, OtherInbox, and Context.IO.
The developers of these applications will be rolling out updates to the applications to allow them to integrate with Outlook.com email.