Microsoft has teamed up with email testing company Litmus in order to improve the user experience of millions of Microsoft Outlook users.Microsoft Outlook currently holds 6.69 percent share of the total email client market, making it the sixth most popular email client in the world.

Outlook, that currently uses Word as its HTML rendering engine, has had a reputation among marketers as an extremely difficult email client to design for. This might be changing in the near future as the partnership aims to utilize Litmus’ online community of email marketers and designers to provide feedback on Microsoft’s email clients in order to identify and fix rendering issues.  However, some concerns have been raised about if this partnership will actually yield any tangible results. For instance, Rebelmail reminds us that back in 2009 Microsoft launched a grandiose campaign that never manifested itself into any real changes.

Outlook 2000 vs. Outlook 2010

It also seems like Microsoft is not planning to dump Word as the HTML rendering engine anytime soon. Caitlin Hart, program manager at Microsoft stated in a CMS Wire interview that “Outlook uses Microsoft Word as a way for email senders to create rich, beautiful experiences in email. Word is the de-facto authoring experience in the world, with over 1.3 billion people using Office. While its strength is in the authoring experience it does have its shortcomings when it comes to rendering HTML emails. We’re actively looking to improve its HTML and CSS support.

The success of this partnership would be a good news for email marketers, who could start concentrating more on creating engaging content and creative emails, instead of spending time on creating workarounds for various Outlook bugs.

Will the Microsoft-Litmus partnership #MakeEmailBetter? Share us your thoughts.