This was actually announced last week, but doesn’t seem to have been picked up quite as much as I thought it would have.
Lookoutsoft, the makers of the absolutely excellent search plugin for Outlook have been bought by Microsoft (did someone say embrace and extend?). If you didn’t know already, Lookout was the only way of searching your Outlook mail. Based on a fast background indexer it just blew the built-in search out of the water. It was so good that I started using it a few months back and just by word of mouth it had most of our office using it. After you’d used it once you didn’t go back.
Well, bang go the claims of the major benefit of Outlook being its extensibility as a platform – if you come up with a good enough extension then MS will buy you out and stop it being available. Nice one.
Q: Will Lookout continue to produce patches?
For the most part no.
Q: Why can’t I download Lookout anymore?
We will be focusing our efforts on integrating our expertise and working on next-generation technologies.
Of course, you might be thinking “But this is great! It’ll be integrated into Outlook from now on! Finally we get search in Outlook that doesn’t take a week and a half!”, but you’d be wrong.
Q: What is Microsoft going to do with Lookout? With Mike? With Eric?
The existing Lookout product will no longer be available, but its technology will be part of […] MSN
Lookout will be part of MSN, not Outlook. MSN. Heartbreaking.
Of course I’ll be ecstatic (well, ish) if it’s announced that Outlook will get the Lookout search engine embedded into its core, but then that’ll just make the one decent part of Outlook and it’s not even from MS. You can just see it now – in five years time people will be talking about how the search in Outlook is so good just like people now talk about how at least SQL Server has such a great core when they just bought out Sybase.
I’m so, so disappointed.
It’s taken me all day to get around to writing this post, and as I finally conclude I see that Joel Spoelsky has something to say about it too. Even he asks
Could Microsoft have possibly bought Lookout just to shut them down?.