Outlook finally gets friendly with Firefox

Microsoft's Outlook is set to offer a fuller feature set in rival browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox after an update to the webmail component of Exchange 14, the latest version of Microsoft's email client.

Previously, anybody who logged into Outlook Web Access through a non-Internet Explorer browser was treated to a simplified interface and limited feature set. Microsoft has now addressed this, meaning users of Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome will all receive the full Outlook experience.

Another notable addition to the service is the inclusion of Gmail's threaded view, which folds related messages into a conversation threads under a topic heading, rather than having hundreds of individual messages cluttering up the inbox. Instant messaging has also been introduced to the software.

Microsoft said it's been beta testing Outlook Web Access, to be dubbed Outlook Live, with around 3.5 million students and teachers at across 1,500 hundred schools.

There's no word yet on whether the desktop client will receive these features, but Exchange 14 is expected to appear either late in 2009 or 2010.

Visit the developer site to see Outlook Live in action.