Following a mobile-friendly makeover of the MSN Website, Microsoft has published MSN apps for iOS, Android and Amazon devices, the company announced today.
Replacing the former Bing-branded apps, MSN News, Sports, Money, Health & Fitness, and Food & Drink provide a personalized, harmonious and synced user experience across device types and mobile operating systems. "Whether it's your Watchlist, your favorite teams and sports, your news topics, your favorite weather locations or your favorite recipes and shopping lists, all your information will be available to you regardless of what device you're on," wrote Microsoft writer Suzanne Choney in a Dec. 11 blog post.
The apps, which with one exception are "available for download today on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Windows and Windows Phone Stores, and the Amazon App Store, let you customize and organize the information you want according to your interests," said Choney. The MSN Weather app is slated to hit the Apple App Store within the next few months, and is currently available on Windows, Amazon and Google Play.
This fall, Microsoft embarked on a sweeping overhaul of MSN. While seemingly a holdover of the Internet portal craze of the 1990s and early 2000s, MSN is a major driver of Web traffic for the company, even in a post-PC world.
According to company estimates, MSN has an audience of more than 425 million people who visit the site from 50 countries. In September, Brian MacDonald, corporate vice president of Information and Content Experiences at Microsoft, unveiled a new look for MSN, social media integration and additional functionality meant to appeal to mobile users.
MSN was rebuilt "from the ground up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world," said MacDonald in a statement. "It focuses on the primary digital daily habits in people's lives and helps them complete tasks across all of their devices." On Sept. 29, the company began rolling out the new site experience, which can currently be viewed at MSN.com.
The new MSN apps embody the software giant's efforts to embrace non-Windows platforms while Microsoft charts an increasingly mobile-first course. In at least one case, it integrates with Apple's fitness tracking technology.
The MSN Health & Fitness app can fetch the latest health news, deliver exercise videos and track a person's diet. "On your iPhone, use the step counter to keep track of your daily activity and keep it all in sync with Apple HealthKit," said Choney.
HealthKit, unveiled on June 2 during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is an iOS-based fitness and health tracking platform. It can collect information from several sources like Fitbit to provide users with a health profile.
The feature, which debuted with iOS 8, was scaled back due to a bug, preventing developers from submitting their HealthKit-compatible apps and disappointing some early iPhone 6 owners. Now that it's back on track, software makers, including Microsoft, have stepped in to help fill out Apple's mobile health app ecosystem.