Indian PM Abandons Outlook for Open-Source Email

Dennis Faas's picture

When the leader of a nation makes an important change, the belief is that most citizens will support and echo their decision. Microsoft is hoping that won't be the case in Asia, after the Prime Minister of India abandoned his Microsoft Outlook account in favor of open-source email.

The Indian leader voiced his concern over the vulnerabilities of his Outlook account following a nasty computer virus that caused massive disruptions when sending/receiving emails containing important (and at times, crucial) information.

The Indian Central Information Commission admitted to the change, stating that a number of email messages were "sent, but not received when using Outlook Express and therefore the Prime Minister's account was discontinued."

SquirrelMail Preferred Over Outlook

The new email service of choice for the Indian PM is SquirrelMail, a browser-based email program that supports IMAP and SMTP: two standards for Internet email communication. Launched in 1999, SquirrelMail is licensed under the GNU General Public License. (Source:

The change is rough publicity for Microsoft, made worse by the fact that India has a population of almost 1.15 billion people. If many heed their PM's negative "outlook" on Outlook, expect Microsoft to suffer a big loss in popularity.

3-Month Gap Between Detection and Repair

Microsoft did receive some good news, however, after it was revealed that most of the missing and unanswered emails reached back into 2008.

Analysts are now asking why it took so long for government intelligence to detect and repair the problem, especially since the emails were said to be of dire importance. Many have gone so far as to accuse the Indian Prime Minister of only having an Outlook account for show, so as to appear more tech-savvy than he actually is. (Source:

Indian government officials did not offer a rebuttal explaining the gap in time between detecting and repairing the virus.

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