Microsoft Launches 'Send' Chat-Style E-Mail App for iPhone
The latest release from Microsoft's Garage idea factory is a quick-messaging app for mobile enterprise users of Outlook e-mail. The "in-and-out" app called Send lets users quickly exchange brief notes and questions with co-workers without the hassle of subject lines, signatures or other elements of formal e-mails.
Microsoft said Send works like text messaging or IM, but keeps conversations within Outlook so they can be easily accessed later like regular e-mails. The app currently works for those with Office 365 business or school e-mail accounts, and will be made more broadly available in the coming months, according to the company.
Send is currently available only for iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows and Android phones are expected to come out soon, Microsoft said.
'Fast and Fluid' Conversations
"While tools like text messaging and IM are great for short messages, you often don't have your co-worker's cell phone number or an IM app on your work phone," according to a post today on Microsoft's Outlook Blog. "And we've heard loud and clear from people at work, they want all their communications available in Outlook -- even if they send them from other apps."
Send enables that by providing a text message-like experience within Outlook so users can access their quick conversations later as easily as they can view past e-mail messages. Within the app itself, users can only view other Send messages, rather than all Outlook conversations. Send conversations are synced with Outlook, though, so users can continue conversations through either the app or the full e-mail program.
"Our design principle for the app was to make conversations fast and fluid while keeping the people who are important to you at its core," Microsoft said in the blog post. "Send connects to Office 365 business and school e-mail accounts to surface your frequent and recent contacts."
iOS No Longer Alone in Enterprise Mobility
In an e-mail to employees last month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reiterated the company's mission to build "best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world."
Apple's iOS mobile operating system has long dominated the enterprise mobility market, but there are signs that both Android and Microsoft are chipping away at that lead. iOS activations in the enterprise now stand at 72 percent while Android's market share rose to 26 percent, according to the Q1 2015 Mobility Index Report from secure mobility company Good Technology. Windows Phone activations are holding steady at 1 percent of devices in the enterprise, but Windows itself is seeing more adoption in other devices as Microsoft has brought its software to more platforms.
The markets for instant messaging and mobile messaging are also seeing strong growth, according to a February study from the Radicati Group. Mobile messaging -- which covers IM and chat -- has seen "explosive growth in recent years as the most popular form of mobile-to-mobile communication," while instant messaging accounts worldwide are expected to grow from 3.2 billion in 2015 to more than 3.8 billion by the end of 2019, according to the report.
Microsoft is seeking input from users of its new Send app, and has scheduled a YamJam online discussion session on its Office 365 IT Pro Network on Yammer for 9 a.m. to 10 am Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 28.