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Graph and EWS Depreciation?
Question asked by Jay Dubb - 2/16/2022 at 10:21 AM
Answered
We've been dealing with a couple vendors who are telling us EWS is depreciated as Microsoft transitions to Graph instead.  They're also telling us that upcoming versions of Outlook will no longer support EWS (and by extension, MAPI, which uses EWS under the hood) as Microsoft goes all-in on Graph and abandons older protocols.  

Yesterday, I sat in on a Zoom call that our client's IT team was invited to (they asked us to sit in to hear the pitch firsthand) where they were being given the hard-sell to convert to hosted Exchange 365 if they wanted to continue using Outlook in the future.  They were told the day is coming when Outlook will only support Graph and only Exchange 365 will offer it.  If they want to use new versions of Outlook when they become available, they will have to switch to Exchange 365.

Are any of these claims legitimate, or were they lies by a clueless (or corrupt) sales team?  And how does the path toward Graph play out with the future of SmarterMail insofar as compatibility with Outlook going forward, and for Microsoft's future support of MAPI/EWS/EAS in general?
 

14 Replies

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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer
Yes and no!  There would be no impact on SmarterTools and it actually might help us. This is a Microsoft problem and as more of our customers find out about it, the more we see customers dropping Microsoft clients in their organizations. 

Microsoft is changing all their mail clients to communicate via Graph which means the client will only connect to Microsoft servers and software...which they acquired from a company called Acompli.  These Microsoft servers will use EAS, EWS or IMAP to pull all your data onto their servers from your on-premise SmarterMail, Exchange, Mail Service or even Office365. Then, your message is sent to your client via Graph.

Overall, the experience for the user is similar other than its slower and since available has been very problematic.

Why is Microsoft doing this?  It gives Microsoft an opportunity to store, analyze and monetize your email like Google does with Gmail.  Email is incredibly valuable and easy to monetize and why the big companies want your email and will lose money on the service itself.

You can test it out yourself using Microsoft Outlook Mobile or you can use Microsoft Outlook for MacOS and enable "new mode" in the upper right.  Microsoft is only supporting IMAP at the moment and there are a variety of other limitations and issues.

Be aware, we are noticing Microsoft is not removing customers data and accounts from their servers.  We have had to communicate with people at Microsoft to help customers go back to old Outlooks etc.

There is so much emphasis on security and privacy these day and different appraoches (Apple vs Google) and for Microsoft to take a Google approach, should make us all pause.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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kevind Replied
Sounds like a strong reason to put more effort into improving the webmail version of SmarterMail.

Make it look & work better than Outlook and there's no reason to use an email client. Advantages:
  • Gives you 100% control
  • Don't need to worry about changing protocols
  • No 3rd party looking at your email
4
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
We got some stuff in progress Kevin, don't you worry.  And you may even get some more messages in the message list :)

But we got some other really cool things coming in a BETA in just a few weeks that Exchange people are going to Love.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
David Feuer Replied
What would also be nice is a mobile app. Instead of dealing with Outlook Mobile, or GMail or a host of other things just install the SmarterMail app and enter a few details and done. 
-Dave
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Mike Mulhern Replied
David---
This may sound like a stupid question but what's the advantage to using a 3rd party app like Outlook Mobile vs just using the native email app in iOS or Android.  There must be one but I don't know what it is.  I'm just curious.
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David Feuer Replied
Some people don't like the native app. With a lot of places doing BYOD they use the native app for their own account and something else for work. Not to mention, with android, there are so many carriers that tweak stuff, they might as well be different apps.

Case in point, we do a lot of VOIP services, there are a few generic apps out there that do work. BUT, the ones custom written / tweaked by the people who wrote the back end server work more smoothly.

With MSFT & Google & Apple always changing something, the SmarterMail phone app could be a nice consistent thing. 

Just my view
-Dave
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echoDreamz Replied
I will always use a dedicated client app. Be it Outlook or eM Client. Though, if Microsoft does make it to only work via their services, I will simply transition over to eM Client as it is a top-notch email client. I am all for native clients instead of some web interface, which the bulk of our customers are with as well.

I've never had many show-stopping issues with the iOS built-in mail app, it works really well, though, we have had a ton of complaints with EAS on mobile where the folder is showing messages that dont exist, or were moved to another folder, but still shows in the original folder.
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Jay Dubb Replied
@kevind, unfortunately there are advantages and conveniences of using Outlook over webmail, particularly in hardcore corporate environments.  

One example, we manage a dedicated Exchange Server for a regional healthcare provider who is heavily dependent on Outlook and its tight integration with Exchange and AD.  Exchange also has a fairly complete web client (OWA) which some use.  Management wanted to evaluate the potential of going with a non-Microsoft office suite which does not include an email client, so a group of participants were asked to switch to OWA instead of Outlook.

The blowback was swift and harsh.  There are too many things the web client either could not do, or could not do as easily or seamlessly as Outlook.  So many complaints from so many different users cased them to abandon the OWA trial.

I hate what Microsoft has done to its licensing Office, I hate that Exchange Server 2022 is cloud-only, and I hate Microsoft for proxying even on-premises traffic through their could.  To me that is just EVIL.

I've said all this, because no matter how evil Microsoft becomes, there is no comprehensive substitute for Outlook.  There is only Outlook in a class by itself, and "all the other options" which include fat webmail apps and competing products like eM Client.  For the record, one of our large clients did an eM Client trial hoping it could be the substitute for Outlook that would let them move to LibreOffice, but eM Client generated so many user complaints that they got Office 365 subscriptions for all employees and called it "lesson learned".

If any company ever does produce a product that can go head-to-head with Outlook with no compromises, that even the most hardcore users can accept, we will be the first to recommend it.  Until then... SADLY... Outlook wins.
 

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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Based on millions and millions of users:

More and more companies are moving to Webmail and native clients to reduce the burden on IT especially with employees working remote and more distributed than ever.  The complexity of helping users install and manage client applications can be one of largest strains on IT departments along with the security risks.

Because of this, many companies are not upgrading Outlooks or clients but introducing Webmail and native clients which are automatically updated regularly.

If you saw what we see on the daily and how old some software is in some of these organization and the number of vulnerabilities that exist and what could be exploited, you would be very concerned.  

Native clients are good (everything is buggy these days) and there are a variety of methods to handle device policies and data protection for organizations.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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Sabatino Replied
I want to tell my experience.

I don't think it depends on the fact that outlook has something extra.

I think it depends on the laziness of the users to see an interface other than outlook

Honestly I can't understand what has more outlook than emclient for example

I forced my collaborators to use emclient and after the initial protests and a bit of use nobody had anything to say anymore
Sabatino Traini
      Chief Information Officer
Genial s.r.l.
Martinsicuro - Italy

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Sabatino Replied
Tim, here is a list of the difficulties I see most often in using webmail

1) users who manage more than one mailbox, the webmail should be able to manage a multiple tree and multiaccount

2) the presence of outdated management programs, which do not use smtp but a local client to send emails
Sabatino Traini
      Chief Information Officer
Genial s.r.l.
Martinsicuro - Italy

3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
We have been asked frequently about turning Webmail into a client for other mail services.  Some people like our Webmail (some in this community don't)... but we see the value and it is on our mind as we move forward with some Webmail improvements later this year.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Mike Mulhern Replied
I would love to roll my users to webmail and ditch outlook entirely.  Right now the functionality is just not on par with Outlook for my environment.  Here's to hoping the webmail improvements get the product to where it needs to be.
For instance regarding auto-fill;:
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Jay Dubb Replied
@Sabatino, it depends on the use case.  Where we see the most pushback is C-suite executive assistants whose life revolves around email, calendaring and contacts.  Especially meetings.  Yes you can "do" meetings in the OWA client, but the flow is clunky compared to the elegant flow in Outlook.  And don't forget about all the Outlook plug-ins that are the lifeblood of power users, which are not available in webmail-- encryption, Zoom meeting creation, etc.

Complaints are similar for Public Folders.  Yes, OWA can read public folders, but there is so much more you can do with them in Outlook.  For example, from an administrative viewpoint, creating and setting permissions on public calendars (Reader, Editor, Publishing Editor, Owner, etc.) is point-and-click simple in Outlook.  I'm not even sure if that level of management can be done from OWA.

So OK, public folders are an Exchange thing (which Microsoft wants to abandon, but so many departments depend on like oxygen) but the Meetings management alone is the primary reason so many fought back.  

There is also a MUCH better search facility in Outlook than in either OWA or SM webmail-- which I hope is going to be remedied with the new SM webmail enhancements under development.  A large client we just migrated from another provider really misses the clean/elegant search functions built into the main mail reader window.  I know you can click on the magnifying glass in the top right of the SM window to get a more robust search tool, but as much as I want to be a SM advocate, I could not bluff my way through the lack of a neatly-integrated search menu with this client-- not after I screen shared with them to see the tools they had to leave behind with the old provider.


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