Microsoft inadvertently reveals 'Flow by Outlook' chat app for iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2015
Microsoft appears to be developing a streamlined chat and email application for iPhones called Flow by Outlook, a leaked download webpage marked "Microsoft Confidential" revealed on Wednesday.




The page was discovered by a Twitter user known as @h0x0d, and describes the app as a "great way to have rapid email conversations on your phone with the people who are important to you." Users can reach anyone with an email address, the page adds, and conversations started in Flow can be continued in Outlook.

The main difference with Flow is that salutations, signatures, and even subject lines are dropped, turning conversations into something akin to instant messaging. The app also hides any email exchanges not started in Flow.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet that the company had nothing to share about the app. The comment may have indirectly confirmed the app's existence, but there's no indication of when Flow might become available or even what it will look like.

Microsoft already has an iOS version of Outlook, but the company has been releasing an assortment of small-scale Office iOS apps for different tasks. Flow could be an answer to the popularity of lightweight email apps like Google Inbox.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16

    MSN Communicator then Windows Communicator, brought to you by Lync, replaced by Skype and Skype for Business, featuring Flow by Outlook developed by the artist formerly known as Microsoft.

  • Reply 2 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,819member

    Actually, this sounds like an interesting idea. It would be nice to be able to "IM" a colleague on occassion without having to know their phone number or set them up as a contact or worse have them know my #.

  • Reply 3 of 16
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 503member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rexbinary View Post

     

    MSN Communicator then Windows Communicator, brought to you by Lync, replaced by Skype and Skype for Business, featuring Flow by Outlook developed by the artist formerly known as Microsoft.


     

    My company has adopted Lync as our corporate messaging solution. What a festering pile of crap. Works fine for instant messaging, but the meeting functionality is abysmal and its VoIP functionality works about 10% of the time. Compare that to Skype (which I use for my home VoIP solution) which works great, certainly because Microsoft bought it rather than created it.

     

    Good job Microsoft - because we need yet another one of your crappy communication tools.

  • Reply 4 of 16
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    djames4242 wrote: »
    My company has adopted Lync as our corporate messaging solution. What a festering pile of crap. Works fine for instant messaging, but the meeting functionality is abysmal and its VoIP functionality works about 10% of the time. Compare that to Skype (which I use for my home VoIP solution) which works great, certainly because Microsoft bought it rather than created it.

    Good job Microsoft - because we need yet another one of your crappy communication tools.

    We use Cisco Jabber at my company which isn't too bad but we also use WebEx which is painfully slow.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 503member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    We use Cisco Jabber at my company which isn't too bad but we also use WebEx which is painfully slow.



    If I remember, WebEx is Java based. I love developing in Java for server-side applications, but it can be painfully slow to use for front-end applications. 

  • Reply 6 of 16
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,580member
    djames4242 wrote: »
    My company has adopted Lync as our corporate messaging solution. What a festering pile of crap. Works fine for instant messaging, but the meeting functionality is abysmal and its VoIP functionality works about 10% of the time. Compare that to Skype (which I use for my home VoIP solution) which works great, certainly because Microsoft bought it rather than created it.

    Good job Microsoft - because we need yet another one of your crappy communication tools.

    If it is implemented correctly and not done on a budget or by an imbecile Skype for Business (formerly Lync) is a great product.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

     

     

    My company has adopted Lync as our corporate messaging solution. What a festering pile of crap. Works fine for instant messaging, but the meeting functionality is abysmal and its VoIP functionality works about 10% of the time. Compare that to Skype (which I use for my home VoIP solution) which works great, certainly because Microsoft bought it rather than created it.

     

    Good job Microsoft - because we need yet another one of your crappy communication tools.




    It's no longer Lync. It's Skype for Business! (It's just Lync re-branded.) If you are on Office 2013, you'll receive a Windows update which will re-brand it for you and all your users. Some of my users found it very confusing. Especially the ones that were already using regular Skype as now they have two Skypes.

  • Reply 8 of 16
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post





    If it is implemented correctly and not done on a budget or by an imbecile Skype for Business (formerly Lync) is a great product.



    I beg to differ. Conferencing works, but its sharing tools are abysmal in comparison to every.other.conferencing.system.I.have.ever.used, and not once has the "call me" functionality worked. Granted this may be a configuration issue, but our internally developed conferencing system has this functionality and it works 99% of the time.

  • Reply 9 of 16
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rexbinary View Post

     

    Especially the ones that were already using regular Skype as now they have two Skypes.


     

    Skype... Skype for Business

    OneDrive... OneDrive for Business

     

    Even though the "For business" versions are completely separate apps, protocols and differ in features. And I agree with Lync. It doesn't know what communication tool it wants to be, other than a completely proprietary version of everything at once.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

     

    If I remember, WebEx is Java based. I love developing in Java for server-side applications, but it can be painfully slow to use for front-end applications. 


     

    It's not. It uses a native client.

  • Reply 10 of 16
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 503member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rexbinary View Post

     



    It's no longer Lync. It's Skype for Business! (It's just Lync re-branded.) If you are on Office 2013, you'll receive a Windows update which will re-brand it for you and all your users. Some of my users found it very confusing. Especially the ones that were already using regular Skype as now they have two Skypes.


     

    I'm glad you mentioned this. I run Windows for work (in a VM on my Mac) and am always connected to my company VPN. Apparently our network has been blocking Office updates (presumably so our IT folk can control which updates are pushed out to company-issued PCs). I disconnected from VPN and ran the Office update manually. I was behind several updates.

     

    I now have Skype for Business. I wonder if it will suck less than Lync :)

     

    Thanks again!

  • Reply 11 of 16
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,985member
    rexbinary wrote: »
    MSN Communicator then Windows Communicator, brought to you by Lync, replaced by Skype and Skype for Business, featuring Flow by Outlook developed by the artist formerly known as Microsoft.

    Yep, and that all sounds so typically smooth and clear for Microsoft doesn't it? :no:
  • Reply 12 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,959member

    Because we need yet another technology for sending messages/chatting.  That way we can all keep a dozen apps open at a time on all devices and round robin through them all day.  Efficiency. /s

  • Reply 13 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,959member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post





    If it is implemented correctly and not done on a budget or by an imbecile Skype for Business (formerly Lync) is a great product.



    Not on Mac.  Crashes at the drop of a hat with any sort of conferencing and you need a super-secret-internal-update so that desktop sharing is faster than one frame per minute.

  • Reply 14 of 16
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,185member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by auxio View Post

     

    Because we need yet another technology for sending messages/chatting.  That way we can all keep a dozen apps open at a time on all devices and round robin through them all day.  Efficiency. /s




    You ain't seen crapola till you have had to use Yammer. Its a M$ Facebook wannabe that is horrible. It is supposed to be the place for you to go to cut out all the noise of Facebook and have a Facebook-ish way of conversing. Very easy to get lost in. I do not like social SW -- don't see the need (for me) and further don't want to have to maintain another client (especially M$). I thought I might be able to live without actually having to go there direct daily since it is supposed to support digests but that is a fracking joke. We all know what comes after digestion right -- if it smells like it, looks like, and feels like it, it must be sh*t! Boy is it.

  • Reply 15 of 16
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    auxio wrote: »

    Not on Mac.  Crashes at the drop of a hat with any sort of conferencing and you need a super-secret-internal-update so that desktop sharing is faster than one frame per minute.

    Interesting I don't have a problem with Skype on my Macbook, FaceTime though crashes all the time, mostly for incoming calls. My favorite video conferencing software is still Hangouts, hate it because it's a Google product if you must but it's bullet proof. Almost my entire family have ChromeBox's with web cams connected to their TV's with and habe been using Hangouts withoutissues for over a year now. We also share our media with each other such as movies and pictures, collectivly we have over 2,000 films to watch, best video service ever, ChromeBox's are just cool little devices.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,959member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post



    Interesting I don't have a problem with Skype on my Macbook

     

    Skype is fine.  It's Lync that's the problem.  There's no Skype for Business for Mac, and regular Skype doesn't connect to business/corporate accounts.

     

    Quote:

     FaceTime though crashes all the time, mostly for incoming calls.


     

    Use it on an almost daily basis for personal calls, and never had a problem.

     

    Quote:

    My favorite video conferencing software is still Hangouts, hate it because it's a Google product if you must but it's bullet proof. Almost my entire family have ChromeBox's with web cams connected to their TV's with and habe been using Hangouts withoutissues for over a year now. We also share our media with each other such as movies and pictures, collectivly we have over 2,000 films to watch, best video service ever, ChromeBox's are just cool little devices.


     

    Never really saw the need to make my TV into a video conferencing device -- my laptop works perfectly fine and can move around to wherever is convenient.  With Airplay, I can send it to my TV if I need a bigger screen.  Sharing photos is dead simple with iCloud.

     

    I still don't understand how Google is getting around having one person pay and many watch something (not in the same household).  Seems like the content providers wouldn't be too happy about that.  Unless there's something about your situation I don't understand (home videos?).

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