Microsoft retires Outlook Web App (Android/iOS)

[German]Microsoft has announced the retirement of Outlook Web App (OWA) for iPhone, iPad and Android. Since an Outlook app for iOS and Android devices is available, OWA will be retired in May 2018. What seems to be a minor thing, will cause huge impacts on business environments in European Union countries.


Just a retirement …

Here are the details, how Microsoft is planning to fade Outlook Web App (OWA) away:

  • In April 2018, the OWA for iPhone, iPad and Android apps will no longer be available for download from Apple's iTunes store and the Google Play store.
  • Also in April, OWA mobile app users will see a recurring in-app message notifying them of the date when the app will be retired, with a link to download Outlook for iOS or Android.
  • On May 15, 2018, the OWA mobile apps will stop working. Office 365 users who attempt to open them will be greeted with a message directing them to download Outlook for iOS or Android.

Step by step instructions to move over to the Outlook app for iOS or Android are provided here. The announcement of the Outlook Web App (OWA) retirement for Android and iOS may be found here.

Big issues for business environments

At a first glance, everything seems to be ok – an old OWA app is becoming retired, a new shiny Outlook app is available for free. That's the view of the Microsofties up there in Redmond. But there is a huge drawback.

I forgot the security aspects – I've mentioned within my German blog post Outlook-App: Im EU-Parlament wegen IT-Sicherheit blockiert in 2015. But fortunately a German blog reader noted it here: The Outlook app for Android and iOS is a no go for business environments in European Community. The reason: The communication to the company's Exchange server only via Microsoft servers. So these apps can't be used in such business environments, were data communication need to kept private.

According to this article, the Outlook app communicates since September 2016 via the REST-API with Office 365 mail boxes in Exchange Online using a a stateless protocol translator. I don't know, how this is dealt with a local Exchange Server. Other comments left below Microsoft's announcement points to other aspects in business environments. There are issues with calendar shares and more. What's your opinion about this topic? Is it a problem, to use Microsoft's Outlook app for Android and iOS in your environment?


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