Microsoft hits the App Store hard with new apps

Dec 13, 2011
Tech

Microsoft is all over the mobile sphere these days, but not just with its Windows Phone 7 operating system. It’s true, Microsoft has its own mobile phone platform that is gaining some ground against Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android operating system. The Xbox maker has also rolled out new functionality to bring together Windows […]

Microsoft is all over the mobile sphere these days, but not just with its Windows Phone 7 operating system.

It’s true, Microsoft has its own mobile phone platform that is gaining some ground against Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android operating system. The Xbox maker has also rolled out new functionality to bring together Windows Phone 7 and the Xbox LIVE online platform, giving players the ability to control their Xboxes with their phones. But Microsoft isn’t just pushing out on its own platform – it’s also adding new things to other mobile platforms, as well.

Last week, Microsoft rolled out My Xbox LIVE for iOS, an app that gives users a lot of their Xbox LIVE friends list functionality right on their iPhones. They can send and receive messages, look up their friends, see their avatars and even look at game achievements right on their phones. It’s not too involved, but it is a nice way to keep up with your gaming buddies.

Things are going even further this week, with Microsoft rolling out additional apps for Apple’s iOS products. Monday, Microsoft launched a refreshed version of OneNote specifically designed for the iPad. Previously, the company’s note-taking software was available as an iPhone app, but it has never been optimized for Apple’s tablet. Now, iPad owners can use OneNote to make to-do lists, manage photos and save notes in the cloud to be accessed from lots of different devices over the Internet. It’s not exactly new – OneNote has been compatible with the iPad since its release in January 2011 – but for the first time, Microsoft has built the app with a better user interface specifically made for the tablet.

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That’s not all Microsoft has planned for Apple’s devices, either. According to a story from ZDNet, the Windows maker is also about to release Lync, it’s communications client, for iPad “very shortly.”

Microsoft rolled out a Lync app for Windows Phone users Monday, and it has more for that service on the way, too. Lync is a unified communications client for enterprise users that provides voice over Internet calling, instant messaging and conferencing. Lync is offered as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 software suite, as well as a stand-alone service on its own. Once it rolls out the various Lync apps it plans to – on iPad and iPhone, as well as Nokia’s Symbian platform – Lync users will be able to use any of those devices to conference, message and call one another.

The only big thing that there hasn’t been any talk about is an iPad version of Microsoft Office. There have been rumors that the company plans to bring its popular suite of business software, which includes programs like Microsoft Word, Power Point and Excel, to the iPad in 2012. Microsoft isn’t commenting on that possibility, and while iPad owners would likely love access to the programs they use on their home PCs on their tablets (think of all the new uses for Dropbox), at least for now, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be happening anytime soon. But at least there are a few other nice Microsoft apps available and in the pipe to tide users over.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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