An enigmatic email from Microsoft

Microsoft sends out an email that’s as clear as mud

At least three of my clients have received rather cryptic emails from Microsoft in the last week or so with the subject heading “Updates to your Microsoft 365 subscription”. The email mentions two items – “Personalized email addresses” and “Cloud Storage”.There is a web page version of the email here.

All of these clients have asked me what on earth the email means and whether it affects them. In at least two cases, and probably yours as well if you have a subscription to Microsoft 365, the answer is that they can safely ignore the email as they do not use
If the top lefthand corner of your email looks like this, then you are using
My guess is that Microsoft will be sending this to all Microsoft 365 subscribers as their subscription comes up for renewal, so, if you are such a subscriber and you’d like a bit more insight into what they are talking about, then read on (but, be warned, it’s likely to “do your head in” and I’m just a human being so I can’t guarantee that I’ve understood the email properly):

  1. is a web-based email system offered by Microsoft. It is NOT the Outlook client (ie Outlook program) that can be installed on a PC or Mac – often as part of the Microsoft Office suite of programs contained in a Microsoft 365 subscription. Use of the Outlook program is not affected at all by anything in Microsoft’s email. To emphasize this, if you access Outlook as a program on your computer then this email does not affect you. If you access via a web browser (such as Chrome or Edge) then it might affect you.
  2. Checking the relevant Microsoft page as to what constitutes a “personalized email account” suggests that it is Microsoft that supplies such an account. It is not. What they are actually saying is that you can associate a different email address, that you have acquired from somewhere else, with your account. The same web page suggests that you have to get that email address from GoDaddy. Why? I have no idea and can not imagine that that is true. I think it more likely that this is just a badly written web page.
  3. Whatever it is that the Microsoft email suggests that they offer in this respect, they are now saying that it will not be offered after November 2023 (although existing associations between a non-Microsoft account and the web-based will continue to work).
  4. If you do not use the service then you can ignore the second part of Microsoft’s email as well as the first. What I think they are saying is that any attachments to emails using will be stored in the OneDrive storage allocated to that Microsoft 365 account. In practice, I wouldn’t expect this to be a significant issue for most Microsft 365 subscribers (as the cloud storage for Microsoft 365 accounts is 1tb, so email attachments are likely to constitute only a small amount of this).
  5. Your guess is as good as mine as to why Microsoft would have two completely unrelated email services with the word “Outlook” in the name. It’s worse than that, of course, as they also used to have an email program called “Outlook Express”. None of these three services has anything to do with the others.

Outlook client
If the top lefthand corner of your email looks like this, then you are using the Oulook program (or client)
Summary: if you don’t use the web-based email service then I think you can ignore this email from Microsoft. If you do use it, then you will – after November 2023 – have to use only a Microsoft email address with if you haven’t already associated a different email address with the account.

George Orwell
Is Microsoft’s “improvement” Orwell’s “newspeak?”
Finally, they start their email by saying “Microsoft is committed to improving your Microsoft 365 subscription” and then they go on to explain (or not explain) that they are actually REMOVING one facility and REDUCING THE FUNCTIONALITY of another. Is this a new definition of the word “improving” or an example of what George Orwell called “Newspeak”?