Resident Microsoft apologist David K did a big expose recently, which went viral, implicating Google as deliberately trying to mess up your Windows Phone and Windows Mail email coming out on the other end as garbled text when sending through Gmail accounts over EAS. It’s true that his mail was screwed up, I was the one who pointed it out to him so that he could help you all, but I did not tell him to point the finger at Google, as if this were some conspiracy on their part to screw a handful of Microsoft phone users. He did that. Probably used the word scroogled I suspect, or evil or whatever.

So I pulled up a full email including headers of one of David’s screwed up messages, then an email sent through Google that wasn’t screwed up (both before and after David discovered Google’s workaround), found something interesting in the screwed up email that I did not find in the good email. I don’t know much about email headers, but this looks like it shouldn’t be there, shouldn’t it, along with the funky linebreaking in your subject:

Subject: =?windows-1252?Q?=5BStaffnotify=5D_RE=3A_Google_Decides_Android_Users_Shoul?=

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

The next line is presented to the recipient as the body of the email, which (undesirably) begins with this, visibly:

MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=f46d04428296b5be8a04d7e2b7cd
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t David’s Windows Phone and Windows Mail email clients instructing the recipient’s email client to present its UTF-8 content in ISO-8859-1, and isn’t that exactly what the result, according to Internet standards, should look like? Line breaks in your headers, is that in some RFC you know of? Or is your phone’s email client sending proper headers, but Google just wants to break your balls? As if they’re sniffing around for Windows Phones using Gmail and deliberately messing up their email out of some feud with Microsoft or because they think it’s good for business? C’mon.

Hey, let’s say I’m wrong about this header stuff, that Google’s servers are messing things up or aren’t conforming to standards themselves, or are overly-unforgiving for mistakes and so forth, this glitch has been present for what, two years, and Microsoft couldn’t get off its ass to fix that, just as they haven’t gotten off their ass to fix this?

Naturally you fault Google for this, even though they provide a workaround to override your phone’s bug as you advised.

Additionally, you ignore the fact that this is happening with Windows Phones and Windows Mail on other services like, Hotmail and Windows Live Mail! This guy for example. Him. All these people too, and with no mention of Gmail. Or him. And this guy. How about all these nice folks, same problem, again no mention of Gmail. Another fella, any thoughts David? Another bunch. Hey, here’s someone who found a client-side fix a year ago!

I found many others related to Outlook and Exchange server glitches as well. One might conclude that Microsoft doesn’t have a firm grip on proper email header composition. Alternatively of course, one might use this apparent fault with Microsoft to immediately, prematurely and stupidly rip on Google. There are plenty of valid reasons to rip on Google, please be a little more selective next time.

Doug Simmons


  1. Well, if it is Microsoft, you would have jumped and yelled at Microsoft for not sticking with standards, now since it is Google’s real issue, you are pointing fingers at others. To me Google services are always beta and they will be forever. And beta products will have issues, just everyone should realize.

  2. Hello,

    thank you very much for the article and the references. However, they do not solve the problem of Google Mails being garbled when forwarding them to another recipient using Windows Phone.

    I just tested it and it seems that there is a 57 characters limit for the subject line. If the subject line exceeds 57 characters (including prefixes like Re: and spaces), the e-mail will be garbled (i.e. be sent as source code). If the line of the subject line is exactly 57 characters or less, the error does not occur.

    That is a very stupid bug, and it appears that it still exists in Windows Phone 8.

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