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It’s been just shy of 3 weeks since we launched fixoutlook.org, and it’s safe to say the project has been a phenomenal success. Almost 25,000 people have joined the chorus to send a unified message to Microsoft about their lack of web standards support in Outlook 2010. On top of this, there has been considerable coverage across the web from small blogs to major news sites. We’ve even had some fantastic, thoughtful responses from another member of the Office team (who officially filed a bug about the lack of standards) and a Microsoft MVP.

To bring this great project to a close, we wanted to make sure the Outlook team had a constant reminder of just how strongly we all feel about their lack of standards support. Trending topics on Twitter come and go, we wanted something a little more permanent we could send their way.

The fixoutlook.org Mosaic

In his reply to the fixoutlook campaign, Microsoft’s William Kennedy told us that there “is no consensus” about what standards apply to email and that he’d work with the industry if a consensus arises. Luckily for us, these standards already exist. They’re called web standards.

To make sure William got the point, we figured we’d send him a “consensus” from 25,000 of us, many of who (myself included) are Outlook customers. From this idea, the fixoutlook.org mosaic was born. In a single image, it includes almost all of the 25,000 people who joined us in asking Microsoft to fix standards support in Outlook 2010.

Here’s a preview of the mosaic:


We’ve used the different colored avatars from everyone who contributed to spell out a final message to Microsoft. We figured saying “please” this time, couldn’t hurt our chances.

As I write this, the 2m x 1m mosaic is just boarding a plane on it’s way to Redmond, personally addressed to Mr. Kennedy on behalf of everyone who contributed.

To give you an idea of scale, here’s a shot of us holding the mosaic.

A big final thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the importance of the fixoutlook campaign. On a more personal note, it was a pleasure to be involved from start to finish, and hopefully, it will contribute to making life easier for email designers and Outlook users alike.

  • Cory Micek


  • Dan Grossman

    Can I order a printed copy from you to put on the wall? :D

  • David Greiner

    Thanks guys, we’re getting one framed for the office right now. We’d love to fire a copy off to anyone who asked, unfortunately digital printing and postage costs make it a little tricky.

  • Matt Fenton

    A nice touch mailing it to Redmond!

  • Kirk Beard

    That is an awesome response to Microsoft’s claim there is no “industry consensus”!

    Now, we just have to hope they listen to us…

  • Damien Buckley

    Dude, thats AWESOME lol

  • Dimitris Rakopoulos

    Great, guys!

  • Brad Haynes

    Now hold up! I never gave my release ;)

  • christy kilgore

    I like to picture this in a giant easel frame on William Kennedy’s nightstand.

  • Tom Morris

    When the fixoutlook campaign started, I made some negative comments about it on my Twitter stream (which consisted of a snarky comment that the way to fix outlook is to uninstall it, and a serious comment, namely that e-mail should be plain text only, and that I am tempted to filter all the HTML e-mail I get because it consists only of a mixture of pointless marketing shit and idiots who want to send me crap in yellow 72pt Comic Sans). Sadly, your software has decided that just by using the string “fixoutlook” in one of my tweets, I support the campaign. I do not.

    Just because someone uses the string “fixoutlook” in a tweet does not mean they endorse the fixoutlook campaign, any more than if they use the string “spam” in a tweet do they consent to spam. It would be dishonest if, say, President Bush were to look at all the people who have tweeted the word “Bush” in the last few years as people who support him. I didn’t consent to you using my avatar to suggest that I support your campaign.

    E-mail already has “standards” – that standard is text/plain. So long as Outlook can read text/plain, it is conforming to the current e-mail standards. It’d be nice if Outlook would also send text/plain by default and if the Outlook ecosystem didn’t clutter up messages with HTML crud or pointless “Checked for viruses” signatures (why should I care about your anti-virus software?) and so on. Fixing Outlook would be de-HTML-ifying incoming e-mail and showing it as text/plain.

  • Jason De Santis

    I too wouldn’t mind having a copy of this for my desk! :)

  • Mike McDerment

    I’m with Cory – this was “epic”.

    Well done guys.

  • MWH

    Firstly I agree with this campaign completely, IE should render HTML emails or ideally the default browser shown in-line.

    However one problem I can see with the wish to have IE render HTML emails, is the now poor relation – the Europeans (which includes UK – not actually Europeans but I will let this slide).

    Problem – Microsoft is removing the IE browser from Windows 7 for the European market as an attempt to placate the European Monopoly people (or rabble rouser’s if you like).

    Microsoft think the easiest way to stop the rabble rouser’s legal rants about Microsoft’s Monopolistic position and muscling out the other website browser creators is to simply take their toys home. Interesting technique – except for those who will actually be using a modern operating system without an actual web browser.

    My points from this are simple;
    Emails must be rendered in a web browser
    Emails can (if must – but seriously really) in word (hopefully we can still turn this off)
    Microsoft – right or wrong has to let the Europeans to have an installed browser
    Europeans – UK not actually one of you
    European rabbles rouser’s find something else to do – like milking the expenses system

    Well done

  • Tatham Oddie

    @ MWH – As I describe at the end of my post (http://blog.tatham.oddie.com.a…, I don’t think the EU anti-trust restrictions are at play here.

  • Jeff Judge

    Nice work!

  • Philippe Creux

    Well done. Sending the poster to Redmond is just great. :)

  • Thomas Duncan

    Epic indeed! I strongly agree, and much gratitude for this effort.

  • jim

    If it isn’t “fixed”, the next campaign can be to get people to stop using Outlook.

    Mr. Morris, all email clients can simply be set to plain text only. It doesn’t work the other way around.

  • Adam Knowles

    I went to the ‘reply’ on MS’s blog with an open mind. Unfortunately all I saw was a bunch of self-justifying nonsense, with a comment at the end saying no further comments would be published. So if they won’t publish what my response to their post, maybe CM wil:

    “Is ‘Outblog’ a robot of some kind? It creates cold, brutally professional, not-actually-saying-anything messages carefully crafted not to cause any offense to anyone, that don’t provide any information either.

    You know you’re wrong to use Word for rendering. But you’re too proud to admit a technical design error that makes you out of sync with the eCRM community and too attached to let the code already written be thrown away. Have some courage and do the right thing.

    I fear however that MS and Outlook, despite the promise to ‘note’ my ‘perspective’, are more than big enough to utterly ignore the points made and carry on regardless.

    Disappointing, but predictable.”

  • dms

    @ Tom – the internet was never meant to be what it is today either. These things are called “advances” — if nobody truly wanted HTML emails, they wouldn’t exist. Developers, marketers, and forward-thinkers would have come up with something else instead. And spam is spam, whether it comes in plain text or HTML. I still have to manage an email. The only emails I get are the ones I sign up to receive. Back in the day, I would get very obscene porn spam in my Inbox, and could never do anything about it. I certainly wasn’t going to click the “unsubscribe” link. But spam laws/regulations have really made a difference since then. I don’t get any spam. At all. And I’m all over the ‘net. I think that people who are inundated with spam these days have pretty much asked for it with their careless, ignorant online habits. Is it too much to ask that people actually read about what they’re signing up for when they put their email address in the little box?

    Removing the tired “plain text vs HTML” argument from the equation completely, we’re still left with the principle of the matter. Microsoft repeatedly goes against the grain. It seems whatever everyone else is doing — and what they’re doing actually works — Microsoft feels the need to go and do the opposite. I just had an email bomb on me in 2007. My line-height declarations were ignored…no, wait. That’s not accurate. They weren’t ignored. They were “opposite-ified.” I set line height on an 18px font to 19px and the space that was rendered when Word got its grubby little mitts on it was at least 45px. Need I point out here that Outlook 2007 was the only email client that rendered it that way. Every other client had predictable results, rendering it just as it was designed. Even Outlook 2003 did an OK job.

    And as for this utopian plain text world that some envision: I think MS would find some way to muck up the rendering of a plain text email, too.

  • StickyPages

    Wonderfully done my friends!
    *Three big cheers*

  • Jonathan

    Great work guys……pat yourselves on the back…

  • Jake


    In every other form of written document I produce, I can use things like emphasis, font, text-size, colour, underline, itallics, etc. to lay out a page.

    Such forms of page layout are not new things – they’ve been around in written form for thousands of years.

    I just don’t get why you feel I shouldn’t be able to in e-mails. I really don’t see what’s so bad about it.


  • Andy Ford

    Thank you for fighting this fight. We can only hope that our 25000 voices will be heard. Heard correctly and actually taken seriously.

  • Marcus

    Tom, If you say that text/html has no place in email from a technical standpoint, then you’re really rejecting MIME as a whole. If you don’t like text/html, you also don’t want attachments, varying character sets, threading, DSNs, and for that matter text/plain – there is no concept of that without MIME. If your mail client corrupted zip attachments you’d be whining about it, so why do you consider text/html to be any different? It’s just data that we’d like handled properly – remember that MS is deliberately going out of its way to mishandle something that many other developers get right, and I have no idea why you’d think that is a good thing.
    You’re right in one respect though – Outlook provides a particularly bad UX – even if you provide a plain text alternative, there’s no way of making Outlook display it in preference to an HTML version. Decent mail apps do.

  • MAGNUM Creative

    Well done!!
    ~ Fingers crossed.

  • Luis Abarca

    I want to a copy for my wall :D

    Vendanme una copia para pegarla en la pared de mi cuarto

  • Oskar

    Microsoft = EPIC FAIL

  • give@shit.com

    tom morris >>> dude you need to get out more… LOL … you MUPPET.

  • Boris Mahovac R.G.D.

    I’m sure it’s not going to make a difference with MS even if we had 50K tweets, but it’s great to be part of this — I’m downloading the big file now!

  • Juan

    Great work by all! Thanks to all those involved, hopefully Microsoft will listen to our petition and fix the problem.

    *crosses fingers*

  • Alon

    Very nice, let’s hope it works.

  • g

    @Dan Grossman – just download the file and take it to your local large-format printer.

  • @pc0

    Absolutely golden. Idea to execution. This one will live on. Thanks.

  • James

    Looks like a terrorist watch-list, and I want to be a part of it! :-)

  • Kyle Mulka

    No need to download the whole image! Here’s a zoomable version of the image using Microsoft’s SeaDragon AJAX (and Seadragon Mobile on iPhone)

  • David Greiner

    That’s awesome Kyle, great job!

  • Leon Poole

    Well done guys! Looks great and certainly does tie off the campaign nicely :)

  • Storm Ideas

    A fantastic DeepZoom version here using the Colaab app. As RT’d by Email Standards Project themselves!

    Amazing campaign!

  • Nick Whitmoyer

    Nice job guys and thank you so much for caring!

  • Maya Reinshagen

    Great idea! I’m very proud to be part of it. I’d like to use it as a desktop picture. Any possibility to realize that?

  • Richard Branson

    I love this campaign just a shame I only found out about it after it was over through CM excellent newsletter. I printed out a big copy and expanded a portion and stuck it on the wall at work, everyone loves it. Ta CM for making my day when I saw it.

    MS need to pull their finger out and keep up with the times, if us small businesses can they should too. Thank goodness for opensource and creative people.

  • pcnw


  • Frederick Weiss

    I design a lot of email templates and I HATE outlook for these reasons!
    I don’t see why this can not be fixed in 2010.

  • hermes birin

    I think it’s really positive to see that Microsoft have responded back!

    And thanks for a really great campaign!

  • Alex

    After 3 months, do we have any other update?

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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