Microsoft planning Outlook Web App improvements for Windows Slates

By Tom Warren, on 8th Feb 11 4:10 pm with 2 Comments

Microsoft is planning to build improved mobile and slate support into its next generation Outlook Web App.

The software giant revealed its plans in a job posting on Saturday. The company is seeking to employ an Outlook software development engineer at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. “We are now going to take OWA to the next level and build the next generation clients for desktop and the latest mobile and slate devices,” says the job listing. “The next generation client will include world class messaging, contacts, calendaring and social collaboration for both enterprise and cloud, and will use the latest in web technology.”

Microsoft also appears to be readying an improved system for time management in Outlook Web App and Exchange. “We need you to develop new and easier ways for our customers to manage meetings, appointments and tasks,” states the job posting. “At Microsoft we are all heavy users of Exchange’s calendar features so you will have the ability to greatly influence a feature near and dear to us all.”

The idea of an improved meeting system for the next generation of Office has been rumored before. ZDNets’ Mary Jo Foley recently attended a day-long “Future of Productivity” event for press and analysts on January 28. Microsoft Business Division President Kurt DelBene spent a brief period speaking about Offfice 15, the next generation of Microsoft Office. “We don’t think we’ve covered all the bases,” said DelBene.”We’re always looking for what new productivity experiences” customers want.” DelBene said that “new applications will join the Office family as a result.”

Foley speculates that a new “meeting” application may be on the short list for Office 15. DelBene said “We have a major investment around making meetings great.” He noted that Microsoft has done work on every phase of meetings — from Outlook invitations, to notetaking (with OneNote), to broadcasting (with some of the new features in PowerPoint 2010). “I could see those pieced together over time,” DelBene told attendees of the Future of Productivity event.

  • GP007

    The whole ribbon UI is perfect for slates and just finger touch in general, one could say that the Office UI guys saw this shift to more touch UI way back in 2004 or whenever they started working on Office 2k7.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Interesting! Outlook was probably the first widely-used business web app. I use it routinely to access work emails, on my phone and on PCs at home and elsewhere. It’s very useful and always works beautifully. But why does it need to be improved??

    Perhaps MS wants to incorporate recent innovations from MS Office Web Apps and Hotmail. I look forward to seeing what this is all about.

    Microsoft are leading the way in business web apps, which are already integrated with MS Office software and SkyDrive cloud storage. MS will make Office Web Apps popular, and perhaps even the norm:

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/sep/microsoft_launches_office_web_applications