Thunderbird 2 or Outlook 2007?

Granted right now Thunderbird is not as feature packed as Outlook. But Thunderbird 2 will be adding several new features such as the new message alert indicator, message tags and may be even tabs. Thunderbird 2 will also render incoming HTML e-mails via Firefox. Outlook 2007 (due out in February) on the other hand is not going to use Internet Explorer anymore to render incoming HTML E-Mails. Nope, it is going to use the MS Word rendering engine which is currently uses for creating e-mails.

So what you ask? First off, ever try to make a web page out of a Word document? The end product is not the greatest looking and the HTML source code is messy. Word has limited CSS support, so with Outlook 2007 here is what you can expect:

  1. No background images – Background images in divs and table cells are gone.
  2. Poor background color support – Give a div or table cell a background color, add some text to it and the background color displays fine. Nest another table or div inside though and the background color vanishes.
  3. No support for float or position – Completely breaking any CSS based layouts right from the word go. Tables only.
  4. Shocking box model support – Very poor support for padding and margin, and you thought IE5 was bad!

Basically, Outlook 2007 is going to be a FIVE YEAR step backwards for e-mail design. If you are a Windows Live Mail user (which sadly I am no longer), Outlook 2007 is going to very similar. Oh and if you are currently a Hotmail user, chances are Windows Live Mail will replace your existing Hotmail account. Heck, even the new Yahoo!Mail Beta is better than Outlook 2007 is going to be.

Whatever Microsoft’s reasoning is, be it consistency (since Word is used to compose), security (but they say IE is safe) or possible anti-trust issues, this change to Outlook 2007 could be very good news for Thunderbird 2.

News Source: Champaign Monitor Blog