I used Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 as my desktop email client because they were nearly free. Employees of my employer got the Office Suites for a nominal charge. (For reasons that I do not know, my employer still provides users with Outlook 2010 connected to its MS Exchange server). The programs did what I needed. I had a server account at my ISP. Outlook connected with the server using POP3, a version of Post Office Protocol. I began to consider letting go of my ISP email account and address as part of cable cutting – (1) give up the cable box and cable TV and (2) give up the Cable ISP service, and go with a new service. Thi meant thinking about a new email address and a new email client.
Outlook was a message user agent (client) for Microsoft Exchange Server using proprietary MAPI protocols. It still is. In the enterprize enviroment a client connects to the enterprize email server which stores messages and connects to the Internet. Outlook has the capability to manage local copies of messages in a PST file (a dedicated database), which lets it function as a standalone internet email client. Outlook 2013 did not easily support, contrary to MS Outlook 2013 Support articles and publicity about Hotmail Connector and Exchange Active Sync, connecting to an Outlook.com account. This is ironic after MS “improved” Outlook, creating a lock-in effect for its Hotmail/Outlook.com services and more of a walled garden or closed platform approach to services.
Outlook 2013 does not easily support IMAP. The capability may be there. For instance, there are resources that explain making an IMAP connection in Outlook, which may work or may have been outdated by changes in Windows and the Office Suite. Searching for ways to adapt Outlook is frustrating and time consuming. Outlook 2013 has already started its spiral into obsolesence. Newer versions have been web/cloud based (software as a service), which leaves MS with a stream of income as long as consumers will leave with MS as rentier. It will not be cheap, and may not be better or less locked in.
The market has evolved other desktop email clients that support IMAP, and downloading and local storage of messages. IMAP is a robust standard, even if Microsoft deprecates it. It works with webmail, although it is a conceptual leap from POP, and requires some management. Time to move on.