There's a new campaign on Twitter about fixing Microsoft's flagship email program, Outlook. Outlook 2010 will be coming out next year (just say if I'm going too quickly) and it renders emails oddly if they're in HTML. There are details here.
Let's ignore the fact that the Fixoutlook page is one of the slowest-loading, ugliest pages I've ever seen. Having loads of images taking their time to get onto the screen is presumably part of the whole idea, albeit not one that I'd have implemented.
The fact is, though, that sending HTML emails has always been a nightmare. Every email program makes its unilateral decision on how to display them, and most of them work well enough, but if your customer has something out of date then there's a chance it might not work.
Yes, the way Microsoft is thinking of implementing this is clunky in the extreme. But the real problem, surely, is that a large number of companies haven't assimilated that plain text is now and has always been the best way of making your announcements clear and readable by loads of computers. No, it doesn't have decorative bells and whistles so yes, you have to write something compelling.
Fix Outlook? OK, by all means - but can we start another campaign to fix people's irritating email habits and accept that it's a medium best suited to plain text?