Sending SMS from Outlook is still easy
Once upon a time Microsoft did something good. They added the ability to send SMS messages directly from Microsoft Outlook. It worked well in Outlook 2007 and 2010. But then, in Outlook 2013, they ended support for the feature because they said not very many people used it.
I’m not sure how they determined it wasn’t used very much, but apparently they didn’t see the outcry online when they discontinued it. Or they didn’t care when they did. Many businesses relied on the ability because it let them use a system they already knew – Outlook – and their existing contact information to send both emails and SMS messages.
How it worked
The idea behind adding SMS from Outlook was that it would be easier to have access to your contacts from your mobile and your email all in one place. Knowing how SMS messaging was growing, Microsoft added the feature to its 2007 release of the program.
It was called Outlook Mobile Service (OMS). And you could send and receive SMS messages in your Outlook inbox. It relied on a mobile service provider’s own web services to take an email and translate it to an SMS message before forwarding it to the destination mobile number.
To use it you needed some information from your mobile provider to set up an SMS account inside Outlook. But once you had it configured, you could send and receive emails and SMS all from the same place and easily manage your contacts. You could send to individuals or multiple recipients who would receive the texts on their phone.
What happened when they ended support for it
Microsoft Office is the dominant productivity suite in the office as well as homes. In 2010 they stated over 750 million people were using it. Around that time too, about 96% of businesses were using Windows based systems, which undoubtedly played a part in deciding on what software to use.
Microsoft Outlook is just one component of the Office suite, but a key one that many relied on to send messages. By discontinuing support for sending SMS messages, Microsoft left those companies with few choices. Companies could continue using the older versions of Outlook rather than upgrade to 2013, or find another way to send SMS messages.
In my research I found that most companies just kept using their existing version of Outlook. They refused to update because of that one missing feature. I also found one instance where a company did upgrade, but then rolled that upgrade back across the entire company because they needed to send SMS messages with Outlook. Their IT department was apparently quite miffed about it.
Eventually though, Microsoft stops supporting their old versions. Outlook 2007 stopped receiving mainstream support in 2012. Outlook 2010 mainstream support ended just last month. Without support, the older versions eventually become incompatible, unwieldy to use, and have potential security risks.
A simple way to keep sending SMS from Outlook
If you’ve been hanging on to either version of Outlook because of the SMS feature, here’s some good news: You can upgrade and keep sending SMS messages from Outlook. You don’t need any new plugins or third party software to make it work. You just need to follow simple formatting of your messages, and our SMS service will take your email messages and turn them into SMS messages which are then delivered just like any other message sent from a phone.
That may sound simple, but that’s because it is. You can send messages right from your Outlook 2013 inbox (or Office 365 (Outlook.com) or Outlook for mobile devices – you don’t need to be using a Windows based system!) All you need to do is create a fastsms account, and test it out with 10 free credits. If you want to give it a go, create your account by clicking on the green button at the top of the page. Next take a look at this page in our support centre on how to send the message using your Outlook inbox.
If you need more help, just click on our Live Chat and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process. You can see how it works and even send some messages without ever spending a penny. Once you see how easy it is though, you’ll be able to add credits and integrate the process into your business with very little effort. And the best part? You don’t have to rely on Microsoft for your messaging!