New Outlook for Windows 11: Adding of business accounts denied due to missing licensing

[German]There is a strange story that users of the new Outlook client under Windows 11 have already encountered. The new Outlook client refuses to add additional mailboxes if you do not have a "corresponding license" (e.g. Exchange Online Plan 1). Microsoft has already confirmed this. I'll summarize some of the information that Jan pointed out to me in an email a few days ago.


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The new Outlook client

Since September 2023, Microsoft has been providing the so-called "New Outlook app", which will initially replace the Mail and Contacts apps in Windows. I reported on this changeover in July in the article Microsoft 365: First Windows Mail and Calendar users will be migrated to the new Outlook at the end of August 2023. Windows 11 will be delivered with the new Outlook app in future. In the medium term, however, Microsoft is also planning to replace the classic Outlook from Microsoft Office with the new Outlook app.

This new Outlook client is good for all kinds of trouble. The new Outlook app transfers the access data for email inboxes and calendars to Microsoft so that the data can be collected via the "Microsoft Cloud" and then transferred to the app. I explained this in more detail in the article Beware: New Outlook app transfers access data to Microsoft. In the meantime, data protection experts have warned against using the new Outlook app for this reason.

But the list of annoyances that this new Outlook client brings with it can go on and on. Microsoft recently made it clear that the new Outlook app, which will eventually replace classic Outlook, will not offer support for COM. I had discussed this in the blog post New Outlook: Microsoft will definitely not support COM add-ins. Now I would like to add another chapter to the list of annoyances.

Reader note on license trouble

German blog reader Jan S. contacted me by email before Christmas because he noticed another negative thing about the new Microsoft Outlook client (thanks for the tip). Jan wrote:

I am confused about the licensing for the new Outlook. With normal Outlook, I need a license (e.g. M365 Business Standard/Premium or E3/E5). This also allows me to integrate mailboxes from other tenants that do not include a license for the apps (e.g. Exchange Online Plan 1).

This is no longer possible with the new Outlook. You need an Outlook license for EVERY mailbox hosted with M365. So you can no longer integrate mailboxes (even though you have a license) that do not have an apps license.

The new Outlook client then throws an error if no suitable licenses are found. Jan has sent me the following screenshot of this (German) error message. It say:


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This account is not supported in Outlook for Windows due to the license provided by your work or school. Try to login with another account.

The new Outlook client simply refuses to integrate an account because it does not match the license provided by the company or educational institution. Jan thought that many blog readers would be interested in this. Because if you need licenses in the future to integrate tenants into the new Outlook app, this is likely to be a costly affair.

First complaints

Jan then pointed out to me that there is a post New Outlook for Windows 11 – Refuses to add paid Microsoft 365 Business Basic, E1, A1 or EXO Plan 1/2 accounts – This account is not supported in Outlook for Windows due to the license provided by… in Microsoft's feedback portal. Microsoft is advertising its new Outlook app for Windows 11 as "free".

The official Microsoft page Getting started with the new Outlook for Windows states in the table entitled "Support for key Outlook features" at the end of the article that "Support for Microsoft 365 account" is available. The poster writes that he is a global tenant administrator for multiple paid tenants with different licenses. He is able to add all of the following account types to the new Outlook:

  • Paid Microsoft 365 E5
  • Paid Microsoft 365 E3
  • Paid Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Paid Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Paid/Premium Outlook.com account
  • Free Outlook.com account
  • Free Gmail account
  • Free iCloud account
  • Free Yahoo account

Where he fails, however, is in its attempt to integrate the paid accounts of the following plans into the new Outlook app.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 EXO Plan 2
  • Microsoft 365 EXO Plan 1

This is probably not a bug or an unintentional regression, but the developers have implemented the behavior in the code. This is evidenced by the fact that any attempt to add accounts with these plans to New Outlook for Windows results in the above message, shown in red: "This account is not supported in Outlook for Windows due to the license provided by your work or school. Try signing in with a different account."

There is also a Microsoft Answers post New Outlook App (Mail and Calendar substitute) problems with some Microsoft 365 licenses., which is along the same lines. The new Outlook app will cause a lot of trouble for administrators in the licensing area, if I haven't got it completely wrong. Jan wrote to me in his email that Microsoft had indirectly confirmed the whole thing in the Microsoft Answers post. He is probably referring to a post by the thread starter SimoGus, who wrote the following:

Hi have an update from Microsoft New Outlook Mail App dev team; by design isn't possibile using an Exchange Online (Plan 1), although I do not understand the motivation since I can use an Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook free domains (@outlook.com, @live.com, hotmail.com) etc…

So he received feedback from the development team of the new Outlook Mail app: Due to the design of the app, it is not possible to integrate mailboxes with an Exchange Online (Plan 1). Nobody has really understood what's behind this yet. There is also this thread on reddit.com that addresses the issue. How Jan concluded his mail: Fun fact: If you move your domain with the Exchange plans to iCloud, for example, you can use the new Outlook again. Even without a license!

Similar article:
Microsoft 365: First Windows Mail and Calendar users will be migrated to the new Outlook at the end of August 2023
Beware: New Outlook app transfers access data to Microsoft
New Outlook app: Microsoft's statement on transferred credentials and content
New Outlook: Microsoft will definitely not support COM add-ins


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