All up until the beginning of this decade, when mobile and smartphone technologies have been just starting their global dominance, Outlook held first position and amounted for the largest wide variety of email opens. Its industry share in 2011 was around 30%, and many of our peers have been still using Hotmail with 12% of the share. The rest of the email opens share was distributed in much smaller numbers. iOS units and Apple Mail have been just gaining foothold. Correlating with the share, Outlook email buyer accounted 37% of total wide variety of email opens, web version some 7% with then still active Hotmail standing at 11%, while anything else of the contention have been all beneath 10%. The rest being Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo Mail, iPhone, Android, and Thunderbirdto name a few. All of them are giants now.
Email is not dead.
So, lets quick forward to the present situation and 2016. We are reading tons of articles and reports claiming that trade conversation and collaboration tools in the likes of Trello, Basecamp and perhaps most famous Slack are soon to exchange email altogether in the trade environment. All the while, reports about millennials and Generation Z habits relatively much point out that Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and instant messaging platforms WhatsApp and Viber have left a path of ash in recent years. For Generation Z, email is something their parents used for work. Mobile technologies simply seem healthy to them, while email is some type of old and sluggish way of communicating. An article on the Wall Street Journal quotes some of the Generation Z members saying that for them email has become like a Rite of Passage into the world of grown-ups. How silly are those sayings coming from a generation that was relatively much brought into this world with technology by their cribs. However and despite all of these claims, virtually entire global trade relies on email.
Even though the aim of this article is not primarily to negate these claims, let us state for the fact that email is not going anywhere. It will and it must change, moving perhaps entirely from desktop to mobile, becoming more intuitive for those young generations, not giving people that feeling of doing something serious and time-consuming. However, it seems it will remain a prime way of trade conversation, while its trade uses are still evident to a large extent of people. Website emailisnotdead.com quotes Radicati Groups report from 2015 that 4.35 billion email accounts will achieve 5.59 billion by 2019. That is growth of more than 26%. In 2016, an impressive $38 returned for every $1 invested in email marketing. With such an incredible ROI, I am wondering if there's a marketer that has not heard that 2017 will be the year of email marketing? The news may come as a surprise, especially when you know technology that old is constantly below barrage of guesses which tech and how soon will put the last nail to the coffin.
Okay, so what is going on with Outlook?
Outlook has seen many overhauls over the years, but notable editions have been 97 being the first major milestone for Office, 2003 also as part of the Office suite we all remember, 2007 debuting and bringing major changes and features, 2010 and 2013 with important IMAP improvements. Every new edition also came with its new set of problems and disorders bothering users. Office 365 first introduced Mac support and 2015 brought about updates for the internet version and the buyer besides as Outlook for Phones and Tablets bringing it to mobile platforms. This last change meant that Microsoft was re-establishing itself as a serious Google competitor.
Big trade and corporate world likes their traditional, proven enterprise solutions. Major thing they always rely on is support, one of the things that secured Microsofts position over many years. Google still has much to be proficient regarding that or perhaps it will create some innovative and automated method of support, but until that happens CIOs rely on it.
While Microsoft was updating Outlook, the giants have become exactly that. As mobile proved its dominance over desktop in those last five years, it spiked from just 16% of email opens to fifty six%. That spike meant that Apples unique ecosystem neared 50% of total extent of email opens with iPhone securing 33% of all opens. Desktop still ruled back in 2011 and accounted for over 40% of entire wide variety, but finished 2016 with just 16%, continuing the downward spiral to its lowest ever. For webmail, all of this meant 26% of total extent of email opens. Gmail held 19% in distant 2d place after Apple iPhone.
Microsofts great contender
The corporate world is a tricky bunch, it lacks innovation and loves its established practices. In contrast, we know that smaller businesses and startups are always looking for new, more check-effective and more efficient ways and technologies to present them the upper hand.
Built within the main corporate ecosystem used by nearly every trade in the world, Microsoft Outlook has ruled the trade world for two decades when it comes to email trade software. However, Google turned out to be quite an adversary not only in the trade usage but also recently in corporate besides.
The panorama has drastically changed in recent years (millennials being an even trickier bunch). Outlooks industry share plunged over those years to some 6% for the buyer version and 5% for the cloud-based version. Microsoft crunched the numbers for Outlook.com at four hundred million active users with some mentions of 4 out of 5 companies on Fortune 500 list using the buyer version. As previously mentioned, Gmail has finished last year with 19% industry share.
According to Gartners report from 2016, the trend that we have been witnessing last year is a mild adoption of cloud email. Although still in its early stages with 13% of identified publicly listed companies globally using one of the two main cloud email vendors in the likes of Microsoft and Google, companies are slowly realising the benefits of cloud-based email. Out of those 13 percent, Gartner found that 8.5 percent of public companies in the sample use cloud email from Microsofts Office 365, while 4.7 use Google for Work. The remaining percentage have local, hybrid, hosted or private cloud email managed by smaller vendors.
Using a lot of publicly available domain routing records of nearly 40,000 public companies, Gartner concluded that Microsoft leads in most industries, particularly traditional, established and regulated ones, while Google is ahead in more competitive ones. One fact stands out in the report. Namely, more than a 3rd of companies in industries like hospitality, professional services and products and consumer products (those with the absolute best revenues) use cloud email from one of these two vendors. More competitive industries with less regulation, like travel, media, advertising, software publishing, consumer products and food and beverage.
While Google's popularity stands strong with smaller companies, with 50% share of companies with revenue less than $50 million, Microsofts entire ecosystem and software integration, including its familiarity, remains the main reason why more than 80 percent of large businesses and industries with revenue over $10 B are sticking to Outlook. For those companies, it also has to do with Microsofts enterprise know-how. CIOs simply don't see value in Googles method of support, something that Microsoft continues to provide at a consistently high level. Their deeper and prolonged understanding of trade desires is the reason why if it comes down to moving to the cloud, a monumental trade still recognizes the more experienced one to solve its problems.
What about the others?
If moving to the cloud is not yet something that home or work users are looking for, but Outlook continues to seem a bit old-fashioned and presents you headaches from time to time, there are numerous buyer chances to assess out. All of them support POP and IMAP and supply the basic layers of security. Often enough these solutions are more check-effective chances, and pricing is always a difficulty for small businesses and trade usage in our homes.
eM Client has been around for a while now, and with support for Gmail, iCloud, Outlook.com and Exchange, it has secured its position as one of the longer standing ones. The free version of the software is limited to only two accounts, which is steadily cited as one of the downsides. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that with over a decade in existence eM does boast a nicely designed interface.
There is of course the old and tested Mozilla Thunderbird, which, just like the famous browser, gives users a lot of freedom with a monumental wide variety of add-ons. For users in need of more security, it presents PGP protocols. However, with old and tested still comes that interface that just does not seem like it is keeping up with the pace, and for younger generations aware of many chances, it clearly seems a bit outdated.
Also with accent on the security, with encryption and digital signing of your emails, comes Inky – a secure email platform for Enterprise. Available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android its approach is elegant format and device syncing with military-grade security and defense. It helps MS Exchange and Office 365, Google Apps and Suite, but after a free trial comes at a subscription price of $5 per user per month.
Mailbird is another buyer worth mentioning. It has started establishing itself with the new versions of Windows, and right away grew even earning awards. Simple format with the possibility to connect to Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and Slack is what makes it stand out from the crowd. Additionally a special feature of Mailbird is that it allows developers to create applications for the for the Mailbirds big open-source app group and platform.
Lastly, Hiri is an email buyer that has come up recently as one of the newest solutions from an Irish startup trying to fix email in the workplace. Beautiful and easy interface format with two special features make it literally a buyer for millennial generation. Standing out from anything else of the crowd is the option for recipients to rate each email they receive, giving your emails private email workplace score and analytics. The 2d entirely new function is Hiri asking you to separate every mail into two groups: FYI and those that require further action. This simple new thing must honestly be the office changer businesses and employees are looking for to declutter, and a an important element for those younger generations looking to separate emails with concrete action from those which typically prove irrelevant.
Desktop vs Cloud
As people continue to transfer to mobile clients, two great contenders, Google and Microsoft, will battle it out in the cloud. Businesses with their workplace environment will stick it out some time with the desktop clients providing additional features. However, plainly cloud solutions security will not raise that many questions as before, while those much needed trade features will entirely have their cloud counterparts. For now, as we witnessed in 2016, new overhauled Outlook present on all platforms is not going anywhere. For users staying with desktop clients and while looking to decide whether they are sticking with Googles or Microsofts solution or making the switch, opting out for some of the more unconventional options mentioned above might prove to be just what they are looking for as a cure for their headaches.