Outlook as a Platform

Buzz Bruggeman has started an interesting discussion about Outlook as a platform. Since starting at Microsoft, I've spent a lot of my time supporting (and trying to support) developers coding on top of Outlook, both within MS and outside of it. However, Buzz's comments reminded me that despite that I haven't done much of my own coding on top of Outlook. I would like to do more, partly to understand the current pain that obviously exists for developers coding for Outlook, but also because there are lots of little features I would personally love to have, that just aren't a priority for enough users to get built into the product.

I also see how valuable a thriving Outlook developer community can be to our bottom line. It's the developer community that has made other platforms (notably Windows and Palm) so successful. I would certainly agree with Buzz's comment that "My gut tells me that Microsoft never intended Outlook to be a near industrial strength personal CRM system." But why not make it possible for others to build that on top of Outlook? (Obligatory plug for BCM, which is working to do just that.) Or anything else for that matter?