Well, that didn’t take long. After Microsoft bought the hit email app Acompli (it was even one of our favourite apps of last year) last month, they turned it around pretty quickly into an official Outlook app for iOS and Android. Outlook joins Office as Microsoft continues its mobile software push beyond Windows Phone.
For the most part, Outlook is Acompli and Acompli is Outlook. In fact, Microsoft says they have written these new apps from the same code base. For those who’ve never heard of Acompli, the app will feel familiar whether you’re dedicated to Mac Mail or Gmail with its swipe-based actions for dismissing and replying to email. Acompli’s biggest claim to fame is the in-app calendar that syncs with your email, allowing users to easily switch between the two.
I haven’t had the opportunity to take a deep dive on the Outlook app yet, but what Microsoft describes as the same “code base” may simply mean “we renamed it”. I mean look at these two screenshots:
The left is pulled from Acompli’s website and the right is the new Outlook app. Pretty similar!
But even if it is a complete copy, it only means Microsoft follows the most ancient law of design — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The app is available today for iOS and as a preview for Android. But don’t feel too bitter, my Android friends: Microsoft is pulling the “preview” status of its Office apps for Android tablet, so now you can rush to the Google Play store and get Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free.