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Microsoft Outlook Syndrome - You don’t have to suffer anymore

Posted by Art Williams on November 16, 2011

Small businesses all over the country suffer from a painful, costly, and debilitating disease called Microsoft Outlook Syndrome. The cause is sometimes hard to pin down, but the symptoms are clear and the cure is simple.


Microsoft Outlook Syndrome occurs when a small to medium size business (SMB) attempts to deploy Microsoft Outlook within their organization. It is highly contagious, as evidenced by the rapid rate at which it spreads through the SMB community. The shiny features and the longstanding familiarity that the corporate world has with Outlook lures many small businesses into its grasp. Once infected Outlook tends to reach further into the organization and causes many unwanted symptoms. Many organizations infected with this disease describe it as a “love/hate relationship.”


A small business is most likely to catch this disease through association with a large enterprise: the small business CEO or CIO experiences the apparent ease with which the large enterprise leverages Outlook, and thinks that they could do the same on a smaller scale. This dream leads the small business in a direction that is hard to reverse due to the large up front capital investment.

Other causes are due to a previous exposure to Outlook in another environment and a lack of education about viable alternatives.


The symptoms of Microsoft Outlook Syndrome include but are not limited to:

  • Isolation: While large enterprises may have the expertise and resources to leverage the collaborative features of an Exchange Server, few SMBs can. This results in an inability to collaborate, share calendars, and use invitation features.
  • Incompatibility: As with Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook is equally difficult for web developers when it comes to making your email campaigns appear uniform and attractive across clients.
  • Reduced mobility: With Outlook your emails are tied to a particular computer. While there are many ways to “sync” the emails to a mobile device, the reality is that a small business cannot easily deploy a solution using Outlook where email is available in a standard form across all devices and/or web-connected computers — at least not without substantial know-how or resources.

Treatment & Cure

There are many available cures for Microsoft Outlook Syndrome, but the Web Doctors here at Digett preferred prescription is to surgically remove all Outlook products immediately and begin a daily regimen of Google Apps.

We’ve been Google Apps users for 4-5 years. It’s awesome, free for up to 10 users, and the experience cannot be rivaled by any other freely available email system.

With Google Apps a small business can have a collaborative environment covering email, documents, calendar, and contacts — all readily available from any Internet connected computer or device, with very little technical knowledge needed to set up or use.

Email is provided in a threaded form to make it easier to view the entire conversation in one window without the needless “>>” symbols that get so easily out of control in Outlook. Documents and calendars can be shared within the company and to specific outside collaborators without concerns about incompatibility. Multiple content creators can even work on a single document simultaneously with ease.

As with most surgeries the removal of Outlook may initially be painful and it requires a commitment to the process to completely embrace Google Apps as an alternative. In the long run the benefits are well worth it, when you see ease of collaboration among your employees.

If you feel like you may suffer from Microsoft Outlook Syndrome you can experience relief today. In fact, the Web Doctors here at Digett would be happy to help you with any of your web ailments, including Old Site-itis, Flash-dependancy, and many more.

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Submitted by Mark Figart on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 10:22am

Let us not forget one of the most valuable and powerful features of Apps (and gmail, specifically): Incredibly powerful search from any device. It changes the way I use my email.

Submitted by Amy Peveto on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 10:38am

Excellent point, Mark. I also love their Labs, there's always something new to try out.