Microsoft keeps its word on developing consumer apps for Android, iOS

In September, Microsoft pledged that some MSN apps would be ported to rival platforms by the end of 2014

lumia 535

Microsoft has ported some of its consumer apps to run on iOS, Android and Amazon devices, following through on its recent pledge to make select apps available on competing mobile platforms.

MSN News, Food and Drink, Weather, Sports, Health and Fitness, and Money can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the app stores operated by Apple and Amazon, Microsoft said Thursday, adding that the weather app will be available to iOS users "in the coming months."

These apps have been available to Windows 8 and Windows Phone users since September, when Microsoft said it was resurrecting the MSN brand. That revival included taking Bing apps and giving them the MSN moniker. The MSN portal was also revamped to include easier access to Microsoft services like Skype and Outlook and content from media companies like The Wall Street Journal and CNN. At that time, Microsoft also said that by the end of the year some apps would be reworked to run on other mobile OSes.

The apps were built specifically to run on each platform, Microsoft said. Some apps use features found in their native OSes. For example, the Fitness app allows iPhone users to track workouts using Apple's HealthKit technology. Other app features include the ability to access news stories from a variety of publications via the News app and allowing people to customize the Money app with information on their stocks and investments.

Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has grown more receptive to building versions of its software for competing platforms. Microsoft's updated Dynamic CRM application that incorporates the Cortana personal assistant is one recent example. Windows Phone users were given access to this feature first, with availability for iOS and Android to follow in six to 12 months.

Nadella's vision also emphasizes developing products that focus on mobile and cloud technologies, with Thursday's news fitting this theme. When a user accesses the MSN apps with their Microsoft account, any changes they make or information they store will be recorded in Microsoft's cloud and reflected in whatever device they use.

The apps expose additional people to the MSN portal, Microsoft said. ranks number 32 among the top global sites visited, according to Web traffic analytics company Alexa. The one-month rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and page views over the past month.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon