The latest update of what is now known officially as "Windows Live Mail" boasts a slew of features, with a focus on spam-blocking, phishing detection, "spell check as you go" and a faster message-body search functionality.
"We call this M4. In the early phases, we were very much working on the core e-mail experience. We are now pleased with it and able to add more and more enhanced capabilities," Brooke Richardson, lead product manager of Microsoft Corp.s MSN, told Microsoft Watch.
"Beta tester feedback re-jiggered our product plans," Richardson added. "A lot of the focus in this latest release—adding speed, more safety capabilities, and more high-end features to improve the in-box experience—has been in response to what customers say they want."
Early reviews of Windows Live Mail were positive, noting that it works like a desk-top mail application with a familiar three-box interface, and lets users drag and drop messages to another folder, and right-clicking brings up a pop-up menu of mail options.
"The use of AJAX makes [Windows Live Mail] feel more like a desktop application," Senior Jupiter Research Analyst Joe Wilcox told Microsoft Watch.
However, some reviewers criticized the product for a lack of automatic mail-checking, inability to view multiple messages simultaneously, and only working with Internet Explorer. With the M4 release, Microsoft seems to have responded to some of these concerns, as the new version supports Firefox, Netscape and Opera browsers, and all panes are resizable.