Microsoft Outlook is synonymous with email and calendar functions, to the point that a lot of people don’t know it’s actually a paid portion of the Office suite. But that’s about to change. Beginning in August, Microsoft is planning on phasing out the existing, free Windows Mail and Windows Calendar apps included in Windows 10 and 11, and replacing them with the new Outlook for Windows. The new app, which has been available for months on the Windows Insider upgrade channel, is also free.
The transition will be complete at the beginning of the 2024 calendar year, at which point the existing Mail and Calendar apps will no longer be available. Users will be able to downgrade from Outlook for Windows to Windows Mail and Calendar in the interim, but there’s little point. By the end of the year users will be “force-migrated,” according to BleepingComputer. Newly sold Windows 11 laptops and desktops will be pre-loaded with the new Outlook program.
The new Outlook for Windows is not to be confused with the version of Outlook included in Microsoft Office and Office 365, which offers more premium features. But that might be tricky, since Outlook for Windows is visually extremely similar to the Outlook web app, which in turn is fairly analogous to popular web-based email services like Gmail. Microsoft has slowly been adding essential features to the new Outlook app, like support for popular third-party mail services, since its introduction in mid-2022.