January 29, 2015 Last Updated 7:30 am

Microsoft releases iOS and Android apps for Outlook branded email client

Release of all over due app for email comes only two months after the company acquired the start-up Accompli and its email solution

The once giant, now flailing Microsoft has just released an app version of Outlook for both iOS and Android. It is a completely logical move, giving Office users an email client they are (somewhat) familiar with. The problem, of course, is this is a few years too late.

M-Outlook-iOS-screenThe Outlook app was released last night for both iOS and <strong>Android and is based on the start-up the company bought, Accompli, last year. That it quickly launched the new apps is a sign either that the company was desperate to make up for lost time, or came as part of the deal.

But it’s too late to mean much. Microsoft, as many tech writers said years ago, needed to be out front on developing apps for iOS (and later Android). With all those millions of Windows run PCs in the market, the last thing the company could afford to do was not reinforce the idea that no matter what devices people bought, no matter where they were, there would be a Microsoft product for them waiting. But the fear, partially justified, was that if they launched these products for Apple and others they may not buy more Windows run PCs. It was a chicken and egg kind of argument that made no sense unless Microsoft was out front on developing its own mobile products. It wasn’t.


Earlier this week Microsoft reported its earnings, and while the result were not too awful, the underlying numbers for its core Windows products were: the Devices and Consumer Licensing unit, which includes Windows and OEM sales of the Office programs, saw revenue fall 25 percent.

But there are still millions of Windows users, and thousands of business IT techs who can’t imagine a world without Windows. For them, forcing employees to use Outlook will be a natural. I can imagine the groans coming from smartphone users when they are told they can no longer load their business email accounts onto Mail or Gmail because the company’s IT department has designated Outlook at the preferred client.

The good news is that the initial reviews for Outlook, which is really the Accompli, are positive. It looks like Microsoft simply slapped its name on the old app and let it fly.

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