Brad asked: I’m a big Android fan and have used their e-mail and calendar app for years. I just loaded the Outlook app on my phone and am very disappointed in it. I’m a 365 user in my office and thought it would be integrated well, but I’m very disappointed. It has no options and isn’t user friendly. I was wondering is Microsoft behind or will they always be this way in terms of getting their products out?
Microsoft is in a weird spot… they tried to use their Office suite as a hostage to keep people tied to the platforms they wanted to promote, by only releasing clients for them.
The problem is that Office support was the only thing that people liked on those platforms, and that was not enough, so competitors largely caught up with the Office suite, be it Word and Excel, or just Outlook, and ended up improving them in some ways.
So Microsoft right now is probably behind on some things while it’s still doing fine in other areas. No competitor has the amount of functions and features that Excel has, but few people need those, so Google’s Sheets, Apple’s Numbers, LibreOffice’s Calc are more than enough for most people.
In other areas, they are just behind though. They are behind in email, Outlook has fewer features than most of their competitors, and the integration between emails, calendar, and contacts feel a little aged, while other platform connect all of that seamlessly.
They are trying to improve things, but it may take them a while and they may need to go back to the mindset of being leaders and not mindless followers. We’ve heard Microsoft described as the ultimate “us too” company… “smartphones?? wait, wait… us too!!” and they came out with Windows Phone, that was and is so half baked that developers won’t touch it and they can only sell them as “that $49 phone with a big screen.” “Tablets?? wait, wait us too!!” and they came out with the Surface, which is basically an uncomfortable laptop, an uncomfortable tablet, and does neither well, it’s an ok device, but for the price it’s hard to justify. “Fitness trackers?? wait, wait… us too!!” and they came out with the Band, which is uncomfortable to wear, has a delicate clasp, and is caught somewhere between an incomplete smartwatch, and fitness tracker.
It’s been that way for a while, and they went from having everyone on Hotmail to losing everyone to Gmail and Yahoo and taking years to try to change their email client to compete, from having everyone on Office to losing masses to Google Docs and free desktop clients. They seem to have interesting projects being researched in-house, but project Natal just became the XBox One camera, which people don’t seem to care for anymore, the HoloLens looks cool, but they don’t seem to be ready to do anything with it, in fact they were literally asking for ideas.
They seem lost as to what to do with their original products, and running behind everyone else trying to catch up on everything else.
Hopefully they won’t always be this way on getting products out, but lately their strategy has been a little baffling… When Gates left, their sense of direction seems to have followed him out the door.
They have a ton of money though, so if they manage to get some focus back, they may become an interesting player again at some point.
The good news is, if you can look at it this way, that Microsoft’s iOS apps, and Outlook in particular, are excellent. Many analysts think that Outlook is the best email app for the iPhone or iPad–period.
That’s good news for you, the Android fan, because it should be assumed that eventually Microsoft will get those same apps over to Android devices.
In fact, checking the Google Play store, it seems as though the Outlook app for Android was updated recently. You might want to see whether it’s the same version you have, because the screenshots on the Google Play store make it look an awful lot like that excellent iOS version.