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Old 10-02-2013, 08:06 AM   #1
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IMAP support for @hotmail, @outlook, @live

If you're on the road a lot and use one of Microsoft's free email services such as Hotmail.com, Outlook.com, Live.com -- and maybe MSN.com, there is some new functionality you might find useful. These services now support the IMAP protocol in addition to POP.

If you use a Windows computer and Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Mail to read your mail then there's really no big change for you. But this is a pretty big deal to Mac users or people who use email clients like Thunderbird. The IMAP protocol now allows your Microsoft email account to synchronize down to the folder level rather than just at the Inbox level -- a limitation of POP. So if you have folders and rules that sort incoming mail, those folders will now synchronize with your email client if the account is set up using the IMAP protocol instead of POP.

I use a Mac and I've set this up with the native Mac Mail email client as well as Outlook 2011 for Mac. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's much better than my previous solution using mBox from FluentFactory. I have noticed some glitches with synchronizing new email in a folder when it is read on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sometimes -- but not always -- the email will still appear to be new and unread in the Mac Mail or Outlook client. It's not a big deal to me and I can certainly live with it.

A How-To about setting up your email account for IMAP can be found at Microsoft's blog: Outlook Blog - Outlook.com now has IMAP

Rumors have it that the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac will support Exchange Active Sync (EAS -- Microsoft proprietary, I believe). This EAS protocol is already supported in the 2013 version of Microsoft Outlook for Windows. This would be a fantastic solution for Mac users as it extends the synchronization to contacts, calendars, and tasks in addition to email. This is the protocol most likely being supported on your smartphone.
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