Microsoft has taken a fairly respectable step forward with Internet Explorer 7. They haven’t made it to the front of the pack in web standards by any stretch of the imagination, but at least the latest version of their browser can sort of keep up. However, sometimes you wonder whether they have an internal requirement to maintain an overall status quo for web standards: for example, the decision to use Microsoft Word to render HTML (HyperText Markup Language) email in Outlook 7. Microsoft Word? Is this a joke?

Microsoft makes accessible and standards compliant HTML email impossible, from Roger Johansson, sums it up pretty well. Due to the huge market share in email clients owned by Outlook, there is now NO value whatsoever to attempting any kind of web standards or semantic design in HTML email.

I already despise HTML email; I was already resistant to implementing it for any client. Now, I’m just not going to do it. I’m not going to re-learn how to write non-semantic and antiquated code purely for the sake of HTML email. I’ll hire somebody else.

Opting to use Microsoft Word to render Outlook’s HTML email instead of their new, almost standards compliant Internet Explorer 7 is one of the most obviously stupid decisions I can imagine making. Rather than take advantage of all the work the IE (Internet Explorer) team did, Microsoft decides to cripple HTML in email.

Maybe Word has better security than IE 7.