Microsoft officials have reportedly criticized the idea of a “super app” for smartphones that would combine a range of consumer mobile services to drive advertising and drive users to products including Bing and Teams.
It would also help Microsoft undermine Google’s and Apple’s dominant positions in the mobile search business, according to a report this week in Informationciting anonymous sources.
It’s unclear if Redmond HQ has made the decision to create such an app, though it has been noted that CEO Satya Nadella wants Bing to work more closely with Teams and Outlook.
Register has asked Microsoft for feedback and we’ll add the official response when it arrives.
The idea of an all-in-one app that brings a wide range of services under one umbrella is not a new one. Asian tech giant Tencent does just that (critics say it does a lot of things, and none of them consistently well) with WeChat. Chinese readers and those of you who work closely with those residing there will be familiar with the calling and messaging app, which also includes censored news, online shopping, and gaming, among the services. WeChat was apparently a source of inspiration for Microsoft executives, according to those anonymous sources.
Other companies, including Grab, Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber, and Careem, which Uber bought in 2020 for $3.1 billion, offer super apps. Careem, which started life as a ride-sharing company, now offers a variety of services on its super app, from food delivery to car and bike rentals to a Venmo-like digital wallet. Grab’s services also include food delivery and digital payments.
In October, while preparing to buy Twitter, Elon Musk tweeted about X, which he described as an “everything app” that would be similar to WeChat. Musk had talked about Twitter becoming a super app in the months leading up to his $44 billion acquisition of the company and apparently in August. bought back the domain x.comwhich he first owned in 1999.
If the report turns out to be true, for Microsoft, a super app could help plug a hole as it competes with Microsoft and Apple, which also have their own mobile app stores. The company already has Microsoft Start, an upgraded iteration of its Microsoft News app, a personalized news feed launched last year that also includes other information like temperatures, traffic and the stock market and offers online shopping, games and other features.
It is available through the Widgets panel in Windows 11 or the Windows 10 taskbar. It can also be accessed as a website in Microsoft Edge and Chrome and as a mobile app for Android and iOS.
Microsoft Start addresses many of the features offered by super apps like WeChat, which is in the enviable position of having many of its competitors banned by the Chinese government, giving it a long history in the country’s huge consumer market.
What Microsoft execs reportedly want, however, is a way to drive more Bing searches, grow its ad business, and attract more users to tools like Teams and Outlook, something Microsoft Start apparently doesn’t do enough of.
Let’s face it, what would make Windows users happier than another way to catch Microsoft ads? ®