Microsoft has been putting a lot of work into Intune and the mobile versions of Office, and they clearly have the potential to become a major enterprise mobility management vendor. However as I wrote earlier this year, one of their sore spots is their mobile email clients.
Fortunately, we’ve been getting hints that new email clients are on their way, and this week Microsoft announced that they’ve acquired mobile email app maker Accompli.
In case you’re not familiar with Accompli, it’s in the genre of apps that try to “fix” mobile email and make it more productive. Many have come and gone, but Accompli has certainly received a significant amount of praise. Accompli doesn’t go to the extreme of trying to get you to “inbox zero,” but it does have some message prioritization and sorting features.
Even though third-party email apps aren’t for everybody, beyond the productivity features they’re a vital part of any EMM suite. It’s that whole “manage the device versus don’t manage the device” idea—if you want to secure email on an unmanaged personal device, you need a third-party app. Since opinions are pretty divided on this, every EMM vendor needs to be able to offer a decent email client.
Microsoft still has a lot of work ahead, though. They’ll need to take Accompli—or IP from Accompli—and mold it into something that can hold its place with the other Office mobile apps and rightfully be the “native mobile app version of Outlook.” They’ll also have to instrument it to work with the mobile app management features in Intune.
Once all this is done, Microsoft’s email app will be in competition with other email apps from EMM vendors, such as Good for Enterprise, Nitrodesk Touchdown (now a part of Symantec), Citrix WorxMail, and AirWatch Inbox.