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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM

New Outlook apps arrive for Android, iOS devices

Microsoft is bringing new versions of its Outlook email service to Google- and Apple-powered mobile devices, the latest effort to get the company’s products in front of people who aren’t using Windows.

The free Outlook apps will be available for download on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system starting on Thursday, the company said.

The apps are based on code written by the team at Acompli, the maker of well regarded email programs that Microsoft purchased in December. Acompli was among the companies working to unclutter the deluge of email that modern life brings with next-generation email and organization software.

“Today the average business user sends and receives 121 emails per day, but more email doesn’t mean more productivity,” Javier Soltero, a manager with Microsoft’s Outlook group and the former chief executive of Acompli, said in a blog post. “We need to be able to send better, more useful email, more easily.” 

The new set of apps are the latest evidence of a strategy shift for Microsoft, which long earned a reputation for trying to push technology consumers to Windows rather than reach them on other platforms.

Last year, the company announced it would plug its Office suite into the iPad for the first time. Microsoft also launched free, limited versions of Office’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for users of Android and iOS (those Android apps had their “preview” tag removed on Thursday, Microsoft said).

As with the other Office apps, the new Outlook apps released on Thursday will offer users basic functions for free. Those who want access to the full set of advanced features will have to buy a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s Web-based version of the Office software.

The move to put Outlook on other mobile platforms may also be part of an effort to fend off challenges to Outlook’s dominance in the workplace. Microsoft faces competition from fierce rival Google in the email-for-businesses app realm, and it emerged on Tuesday that Amazon.com was developing an email and calendar program it planned to sell to business clients.

At the same time, analysts say Microsoft is trying to break Outlook — along with the other pieces of Office — free from their reputation among some consumers as tools that exist only in the workplace.

The Office team has more details on Microsoft’s blog.

Comments | More in Outlook | Topics: Acompli, android, ios

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