Dear Outlook,

I want a divorce.

Although weve been together since the early days, Im just not happy anymore. If Im being I honest, I havent been happy for a long time.

I think the straw that broke the camels back was when message indexing suddenly stopped working; my most recent emails no longer appeared in search results. Following the suggestion on Microsofts own support site, I rebuilt the index and now search doesnt work at all.

Thats just one of many problems that have plagued me over the years. For example, awesome plug-ins like Baydin Boomerang and Outlook Duplicate Items Remover flat-out refuse to work. They install just fine, but they dont function. After lengthy troubleshooting efforts, some of which even involved the developers, I just gave up.

And youre not even good at some of your core functions. Your mail client works well enough, but your task manager? Its a joke. Just try to work with it in any view except the full-screen Tasks view. Its impossible!

Ive spent hours in your horrendous settings menus trying to make Tasks more manageable, to add something as simple as a completed-task checkbox, to no avail. I feel like I need a programming degree just to make heads or tails of the Manage Views dialog. Blech.

Perhaps worst of all is your load time: 3-4 minutes on my system. Obviously somethings broken there -- other users I surveyed said you start much faster -- but youre the only program on my system that has this problem. Other software loads normally, in just a few seconds.

I also dont like your interface. I dont like your feature bloat. And I especially dont like that I have to spend a small fortune on Microsoft Office just to get you.

So Im done. My business doesnt require me to use you, so Im going to shop elsewhere for a mail client and information manager. Making the transition will undoubtedly be a bit painful, but in the long run I think Ill be better off.

Im not saying everyone should follow my lead, but I do think there are plenty of other small-business users who might benefit from considering other options. Ill be exploring many of them in posts to come.

Hoping we can still be friends,

Rick