E-mail may still be the dominant tool for office communications in many companies, but Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a mobile-minded alternative that's focused primarily on short, quick messages.
Dubbed Send, the new tool aims to deliver a simple experience much like that offered by text messaging or instant messaging software but without the need to know a co-worker's mobile number or username. Instead, Send lets users quickly fire off a message to any co-worker using just their email address; no subject line, salutations or signatures are required.
"On my way," might be one example, or "Are you in the office today?"
The app connects to Office 365 business and school email accounts to find frequent and recent contacts; users need only tap on one to start a conversation. A "Quick Reply" option allows for speedy responses.
That Office 365 connection, meanwhile, also means conversations are synced with Outlook, letting users continue them from anywhere. Messages sent using Send are treated internally like any other work email and comply with an organization's email compliance policies, Microsoft said.
Send is now available free for iPhone through the Microsoft Garage in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows Phone and Android are coming soon, as are additional IT controls. Currently the app works with Office 365 business and school email accounts, but Microsoft plans to make it more broadly available in the coming months, it said.