Microsoft Outlook Hits iOS and Android Mobile OSes

Acompli-inspired Outlook apps hit rival mobile platforms as part of the company's plan to spread "Office everywhere."

Microsoft Outlook on Android and iOS

Microsoft Outlook, a mainstay of the software giant's Office productivity software suite, is now available on Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems. Outlook's email and calendar functionality is familiar to millions of business PC users.

Mobile workers, whether they tote Android tablets or iPads, can now get in on the act.

On Jan. 29, Julia White, general manager of the Office Product Management team, announced the release of Outlook for iOS and a preview of Outlook for Android. "We have received tremendous customer request for Outlook across all devices, so we are thrilled to fulfill this for our customers," she said in a post on the The Official Microsoft Blog.

"Now, with Outlook, you really can manage your work and personal email on your phone and tablet—as efficiently as you do on your computer," continued White.

One perk the mobile edition has over its desktop counterpart is customizable touch controls. Although Outlook 2013 offers a touch mode that provides more generous spacing between the software's controls and navigational elements, Outlook for iOS and Android takes things a step further.

"And, because we know that everyone has their own, unique way to manage email, Outlook offers customizable swipes and actions, so you can tailor the experience just the way you like it," said White. "Beyond email, the new Outlook app offers integrated calendaring that makes scheduling a meeting or sharing your schedule a single tap away."

As expected, Microsoft's recent acquisition of email app maker Acompli has already begun to affect Outlook's direction. "Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more," said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Outlook and Office 365, in the Dec. 1 announcement of the deal, the terms of which remain undisclosed.

"For our Acompli users, Outlook will be a familiar experience, as we're developing the apps from this code base," remarked White. "You will see us continue to rapidly update the Outlook app, delivering on the familiar Outlook experience our customers know and love."

Javier Soltero, Acompli's former CEO and current general manager of Microsoft Outlook, said in a related blog post: "Joining forces with Microsoft also gives us the ability to reach over a billion Office users and do much more with the technology, with tighter integration with Office and Outlook, the most popular desktop email app on the planet." In the wake of the acquisition, the companies have "been working hard on integrating our teams and development processes to ensure we're able to continue rapidly delivering new features and functionality to our customers," he added.

Outlook for iOS and Android arrive just as the Office for Android apps shed the "preview" label. "As of today, Word for Android tablet, Excel for Android tablet and PowerPoint for Android tablet will be available in the Google Play store as free downloads," said White.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...