Microsoft announced today that its Outlook.com service now supports the legacy IMAP protocol, helping those who can't use the more sophisticated Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). These users include those on the Mac—Apple's Mail app and the Thunderbird email client are both incompatible—as well as those on older feature phones and email clients.

To be clear, Microsoft still recommends and supports EAS, and you should use this superior solution when possible. It's more reliable, offers true push support for "near real time" syncing, and is friendlier to device battery life and network efficiency. But Microsoft has received a lot of complaints from those who wish to use Outlook.com but can't because of the out-of-date email client they use by choice or because work forces them to.

"Outlook.com already supports the industry's best email connectivity with Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), which is available on the majority of smartphones and tablets, including Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices, as well as the Windows 8 Mail app and Outlook 2013," Microsoft's Steve Kafka writes in a post to the Outlook Blog. "With today's announcement, we now have a richer email experience across devices and apps, including those not using EAS."

The addition of IMAP compatibility has also allowed third party services to integrate more closely with Outlook.com. And not coincidentally, Microsoft also announced today that TripIt, Sift, Slice, motley*bunch, Unroll.me, OtherInbox, and Context.IO have all released updates to their respective services today that enable Outlook.com integration.

For example, TripIt users can now create mobile itineraries that organize travel plans directly from the Outlook.com inbox. "TripIt can now detect emails with travel confirmations in any Outlook.com inbox, and automatically import them into a TripIt itinerary," Kafka says. "It's an effortless way to get all your travel plans organized in one place, regardless of where you book."

For those who do need to use IMAP—and again, sorry about that—here are the server settings you'll need:

Incoming IMAP

Server: imap-mail.outlook.com
Server port: 993
Encryption: SSL

Outgoing SMTP

Server: smtp-mail.outlook.com
Server port: 587
Encryption:  TLS