Microsoft Outlook: A Brief History

Microsoft Outlook: A Brief History
Page content

Microsoft Outlook is Microsoft’s Personal Information Manager (PIM) application. It represents, in principle, the merger and evolution of Schedule+ and the Exchange Client. The former was Microsoft’s calendar and time management application and the latter was the first e-mail client for Microsoft Exchange Server. Schedule+ got its start with Windows 3.11 in 1992 and had a complementary Mac version as well. Office 95 shipped with an updated Schedule+. The Exchange Client was included with Exchange Server 4.0 and 5.0, shipped in 1996 and 1997 respectively. Exchange Server 5.5 did not include the Exchange Client as it adopted Outlook 97 as the official client for Exchange. Exchange 5.5 shipped with Outlook 97, Outlook for DOS, Outlook for Windows 3.x and Outlook for Mac.

Outlook was born as part of Microsoft Office 97. It combined e-mail, contacts, and calendaring with tasks, notes, and a journal. It was more than an e-mail client, it was a full PIM. Security improvements, interface enhancements and feature additions have been added with each new version of Microsoft Outlook. The current version is Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, but there were several versions between Outlook 97 and today. Figure 1 shows the evolution of the icons for Outlook [See Figure 1]. The major version numbers and release dates are as follows:

Outlook 97 8.0 January 1997

Outlook 98 8.5 June 1998

Outlook 2000 9.0 June 1999

Outlook 2002 10.0 May 2001

Outlook 2003 11.0 October 2003

Outlook 2007 12.0 November 2006

With the exception of Outlook 98, which was added between major releases, each Outlook version is available as part of the equivalent Microsoft Office suite or as a standalone application.

There are seven different SKUs available for the Office Suite for 2007. Each of these editions include Outlook 2007, except for the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 version. The last major update for Outlook was released with the Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 1 in December 2007.


This post is part of the series: A Brief History

The Brief History series of articles summarizes products and applications in the messaging and collaboration realm.

  1. A Brief History of Microsoft Outlook
  2. A Brief History of Microsoft Exchange Server
  3. A Brief History of RSS Feeds & Who Invented It
  4. A Brief History of AOL
  5. A Brief History of Skype
  6. A Brief History of Zimbra Collaboration Suite
  7. A Brief History of the Blackberry