Microsoft Outlook 2013 Last Minute Changes

Back in October 2011 we were happy to see that SmarterTools was adding support for Exchange Web Services (EWS) for better sync support in Outlook. At the time only Outlook on the Mac supported this technology and Microsoft / SmarterTools had stated that it would be supported in the next major release of Outlook for Windows / PC. Between October 2011 and the Public Preview release of Office 2013 SmarterTools worked very closely with Microsoft polishing all the little details to make sure they had a working EWS solution once Outlook 2013 was released.

Unfortunately when the Public Preview was released it was realized that Microsoft had dropped / dumped support for EWS in Outlook 2013 in favor of the mobile email sync protocol ActiveSync.

Why was this done? We have spoken with SmarterTools about this since they work very closely to Microsoft and the only reason we can come up with is simply that Microsoft gains more by selling ActiveSync licenses. ActiveSync is a recurring license that must be paid monthly or annually and is licensed per account whereas EWS was paid once by us and given to our users free of charge for all accounts.

How does this affect you? If you were hoping for a free fully integrated sync solution for Outlook and you were told this was coming we apologize dearly – we were simply supplying the information we had been provided by SmarterTools. The only option for integrated syncing capabilities is ActiveSync, which if you already have ActiveSync on your account, you do not need an additional license as the account is already licensed. The majority of users though will most likely stick with IMAP to handle email syncing.

The ActiveSync protocol unfortunately in Outlook 2013 is far from perfect any users have reported issues such as…

  • Emails cannot be moved between folders (you will receive a “not supported” message)
  • Inbox never updates properly or misses some email (Fixed in SmarteMail v10.6)
  • Messages marked as “Important” do not get synced (Fixed in SmarteMail v10.6)
  • Attachments download – but are corrupt / unreadable (Fixed in SmarteMail v10.6)

3 of these issues are fixed in this evening’s SmarterMail upgrade – since ActiveSync was developed as a mobile protocol many areas of SmarterMail’s implementation have to be rewritten and adjusted where needed. We hope this article helps explain what many users have contacted us about in regards to Outlook 2013 and EWS support.

Please let us know if you have any questions and please leave comments below!

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