Microsoft Developing Flow, A Chat App For iPhone

Microsoft is supposedly developing a lightweight chat app, Flow, which will be initially released on the iPhone. The app will work in conjunction with Outlook, and will facilitate email conversations in real-time. This information, along with the app’s description, can be found on a webpage titled ‘Microsoft Confidential’ that was brought to light by a Twitter user, as reported by ZDNet.

Microsoft exploring chat app market

According to the webpage, Flow will allow “rapid email conversations on your phone with the people who are important to you.” Moreover, the app is aimed at enabling rapid one-on-one communication, and will not include any subject header, greetings, gestures or signatures. Moreover, the conversations that occur on  Flow will remain on the app and not be displayed in the inbox. A given user will be able to use Flow and Outlook interchangeably to contribute to an existing conversation.

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Based on the new information, Flow will be closely related to Outlook rather than existing as a separate product. However, being faster than the normal Outlook service, Flow will introduce Microsoft into the crowded chat app market.

Will Microsoft’s iOS strategy work?

It appears that the new chat app complements Outlook in the same way as Qik does Skype. Qik, which was made public in 2014, is a video chat application that requires only a phone number to communicate with people. Created to be “as lightweight and convenient as SMS and IM”, the video app for Android, iOS and Windows smartphones was unveiled by Microsoft last year.

In 2013, Microsoft also bought the Acompli email application, which was later re-invented as Outlook for Android and iOS devices. The Outlook app in the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile also appears similar to earlier versions, but does not involve the same coding. Just after its launch this year, Outlook became the top Gmail application on iOS devices. The Micorsoft Outlook, and Exchange teams are all under one group headed by Corporate Vice President Rajesh Jha.

Although the company has yet to confirm the rumors about its upcoming app, the details leaked so far seem reasonable. Interestingly, Microsoft plans to initially  release the app on the iPhone ,and considering Microsoft’s previous efforts with the Apple iOS, this could be a successful strategy.