Email clients on MS Windows

The fol­lowing could be a long rant on bad email cli­ents for MS Win­dows, but ins­tead of describ­ing the ago­ny I’ve expe­ri­en­ced with various email cli­ents in the past few years, let me just ask this one ques­ti­on (from a user perspective):

“Why do we have real­ly smart apps on our mobi­le pho­nes, but when it comes to email cli­ents on a desk­top com­pu­ter, the­re is no per­fect solution?”

Yes, the­re may be legal rea­sons for this deve­lo­p­ment (i.e. patents) and the fact that most con­su­mers just don’t care, but then: it’s email, the most important (busi­ness) app­li­ca­ti­on next to Excel or Word. How come this still !!!!! has such a low prio­ri­ty? I don’t get it.

I keep com­ing back to this blog post on the sub­ject. Matteo is a Linux dev who occa­sio­nal­ly uses a Win­dows machi­ne. For a pro­ject, he requi­red a “per­fect desk­top mail cli­ent”. Ha! Wel­co­me to the club, Matteo. They obvious­ly all suck for one rea­son or ano­t­her, and my par­ti­cu­lar requi­re­ments are rather mundane:

  • Fast and reli­able IMAP sync
  • Decent HTML rendering
  • Inte­gra­ted calen­dar and con­ta­ct sync
  • Glo­bal Inbox

Tha­t’s it. And yes, sup­port for encryp­ted mails would be a huge bonus, but one step at a time.

Going by this list of requi­re­ments, I have now even­tual­ly swit­ched from MS Out­look 2010 to eM Cli­ent. Which also means: no Post­box, no The­Bat!, no Mail­bird, no Thun­der­bird,  no Win­dows Mail (lol), no Eudo­ra, no Essen­ti­al­PIM, no Syl­pheed (which is real­ly nice). Con­ver­sa­ti­on threa­ding? Hell, no. Or the new N1 by Nylas? Not yet. Just a cli­ent that loo­ks like MS Out­look 2010, imports all the stuff from the­re (!) but also does­n’t bug me with idle time. All email accounts acces­si­ble via IMAP, calen­dar and con­ta­cts sync without issu­es (like they used to with plugins in other cli­ents) and all mails show up in a glo­bal inbox and glo­bal junk mail folder.

Looks like MS Outlook, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Loo­ks like MS Out­look, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Em Cli­ent is adver­ti­sed as the “best email cli­ent for Win­dows”, which Mail­bird 2.0 btw also claims. The Bat! also claims to be “the best secu­re email cli­ent soft­ware”. Which is pro­bab­ly true, but also begs the ques­ti­on: if they are all “the best”, how come they are still not as popu­lar as the rest? Cos­ts? Em Cli­ent is expen­si­ve, a full licence cos­ts around 47 EUR (incl. VAT), no dis­counts gran­ted. A free ver­si­on is avail­ab­le, but limi­ted to two email accounts. I will still cough up that amount becau­se a good email tool should cost money. Which is why I also bought Post­box in the past. I am wil­ling to spend money on good soft­ware. A) to sup­port the deve­lo­per and show my appre­cia­ti­on and b) becau­se I don’t want my data to be their busi­ness model. But tha­t’s just me, others are more into open soft­ware, or even the “free” (as in free beer) side to it and pro­bab­ly don’t agree.

Com­ing back to my initi­al ques­ti­on: how come that we have a lot of nice apps on our mobi­le devices, while email is so neglec­ted? Why can’t email as an app­li­ca­ti­on be as smart as SMS or the use of other Instant Mes­sen­gers? Kids have their mobi­le num­ber and user name as an ent­ry card into the digi­tal world — not necessa­ri­ly email (like we did). While this may ans­wer the prio­ri­ty on opti­mi­zed com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on chan­nels, it still does­n’t ans­wer why MS Out­look or even Lotus IBM Notes (and Thun­der­bird for many pri­va­te and Linux users) should be the best opti­ons. Could we plea­se have a gre­at email cli­ent soft­ware? Some­thing that just works?

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