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December 2, 2020

Microsoft sets May kill date for OWA apps on iOS, Android

Microsoft has set a kill with the aid of date for a cellular e-mail app that companies have long depended on, telling clients they need to transfer to every other organization app in two months.

The Outlook Web App (OWA) for iOS and Android will stop operating May 15, Microsoft introduced closing week. “On May 15, 2018, the OWA mobile apps will forestall running,” Eugenie Burrage, of the company’s product advertising and marketing group, wrote in a March 6 publish to a company blog. “Office 365 customers who try to open them may be greeted with a message directing them to download Outlook for iOS or Android.”

[ Further reading: Windows 10 update (and retirement) calendar: Mark these dates ]
In a pair of previous steps, Microsoft subsequent month will strike OWA from the Apple App Store and the Google Play marketplace, then begin warning users of the upcoming forestall date.

OWA on iOS harked to mid-2013, whilst Microsoft issued the app that reprised the in-browser OWA corporate employees had long used on gadgets – first mobile telephones, then smartphones, then capsules – that couldn’t run the overall-fledged Windows x86-primarily based Outlook e-mail customer.

Microsoft followed that with OWA on Android nearly a yr later.

The iOS and Android OWA apps offered the equal capability as OWA in a browser, letting customers access to email, calendars, and contacts housed on Microsoft-hosted Exchange server. The OWA apps have been available simplest to customers included by a business enterprise’s Office 365 subscription.

But ever since Microsoft unveiled Outlook-branded apps for iOS, then Android, in January 2015, it became positive the enterprise would sooner or later put the stop-gap answer of OWA to rest.

“The new Outlook app replaces OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android,” Microsoft placed it seems that at the time. “We are leaving the OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android apps in the marketplace in the meanwhile because there are some advanced Office 365 and Exchange Server functions that are not yet available in Outlook. Customers who require those superior functions (e.G. Viewing Information Rights Management covered mails, support for Apps for Outlook) can retain to use OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android till those capabilities are available in Outlook.”

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Microsoft’s selection to kill OWA in only two months did now not take a seat nicely with a few corporation clients, who answered to the assertion with feedback appended to the Redmond, Wash. Company’s weblog.

“This is such a needless one-sided movement via Microsoft,” stated Tony Mels. “I use OWA … Because I do not want any e-mail notifications or Unread Message icons.”

“[I use OWA] because it’s now not possible to add shared mailboxes in the local Outlook app [so] we advocate users to apply this OWA app,” delivered Jarno Korterink. “Please first add assist for shared mailboxes inside the local Outlook app before retiring this OWA app.”

Sven Mihaly-Bison elevated on Korterink’s quandary. “Will Outlook be enabled to get entry to on-premises shared mailboxes? The OWA app is the most effective tool with the capability to do that. It´s not possible to get admission to Exchange 2016 Shared Mailboxes with Outlook as Exchange 2016 works only with WAP 2016 and WAP 2016 does not assist IMAP.”

“What about the government tenants? Will the native Outlook app sooner or later be relaxed enough, so we are able to use it?” requested Kent Kroft.

“I need to know how my admins should approve emails on mobile devices,” stated Robert Woods. “I also want to know how my customers who aren’t enrolled in Intune ought to get right of entry to their mailbox now? This becomes our handiest opportunity to driving BYOD gadgets into MDM enrollment, and you are taking that characteristic away without offering an alternative it seems. Please prevent deprecating functionality without presenting an alternative! We pay for those functions.”

“This is a completely abrupt exchange with very little time to extensively notify the consumer base,” argued Chance Webster. “Bottom line, deprecating the OWA app this quickly is a HORRIBLE idea and I can hardly ever watch for the flood of telephone calls from irritated customers that I’m sure to get from this surprising elimination of an app that has helped them benefit a giant raise to their daily productiveness and flexibility.”

To Microsoft’s credit, it responded to a maximum of the complaining commenters. To Kroft, for example, who had asked about Outlook app safety in a government environment, Microsoft’s Burrage stated that the company deliberate to complete FedRAMP certification and approval for Outlook “within the very close to term” and advised Kroft to hold an eye fixed on the Office 365 Message Center at some stage in the next 30-60 days for a declaration.

Others, however, had been actually advised that their users could maintain to access OWA thru the cellular tool’s browser. Such access will remain to be had after the OWA apps prevent running.

“While we’re running to deliver the abilities you are requesting to Outlook for iOS and Android, you could preserve to apply OWA via the browser on your mobile device,” Burrage stated in a final comment.

Not distinctly, some balked at that advice. “It seems…You’re telling me they [users] will want to apply a combination of Outlook at the iPhone and OWA at the net to get the identical capabilities they already have, that once more, we pay for,” countered Woods. “Such horrible purchaser enjoy.”

Craig Bowen

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