Lookout: Outlook for Your Phone!

IMG_0005-169x300New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wants one thing. He wants everyone, and by that we mean EVERYONE, to use Microsoft products.

Whether you are a long-time Office 365 customer or a highschooler, Microsoft Outlook is now the right price. The mobile app is free.

But we must admit all of this free-ness has us on edge. Is this the Microsoft we all know? The one who fought relentlessly in the Browser Wars of yesteryear, whose wrist was slapped with an anti-trust fine? We did some digging to find out.

Features – Is This Freemium? What’s the Catch?

For all practical purposes, there is a not really a catch here, but there is an explanation. Mobile Outlook is not an original Microsoft product; it was acquired in December when Microsoft acquired Accompli. The resulting app lacks the full range of support that is available for the Windows version. So there is that.

But the mobile app hosts the functionality anyone with Outlook on desktop would expect: easy meeting invites and integration with Exchange Server.

The app also features easy synchronization with all of Microsoft’s competitors, including Gmail and probably whatever email you are using today. You can also add any cloud storage solution, including your OneDrive (of course), Dropbox or box account to easily send and receive files. You can save and send updated spreadsheets to your boss. Your 14-year-old son can send the latest memes to his friends with one of the most advanced communications tools on the planet.

How? Why?

It is hard to believe that this is not a plot of some kind – a Trojan Horse if you will – but believe it. This Microsoft has clearly shifted strategies from the coercive tactics of the past and has emerged from the chrysalis of barbarism: a generous cloud provider.

This new mobile strategy earns the company recognition as it hosts a growing number of applications on Android and iOS. A few examples:

  • Dan Kedmey: “Microsoft freed Outlook email from the confines of the office PC.”
  • Vlad Savov called Outlook for iOS: “my best pick for reading Gmail on an iPhone today.”
  • Derek Walter at Macworld: “By the looks of it the best features are still there.”

Yes, this is real. Go out and download Outlook today. Life just got a little bit easier.