Microsoft Outlook debuts on iPhone, iPad

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Microsoft Outlook debuts on iPhone, iPad

And Office arrives for free on Android tablets.

Microsoft today released an app for its Outlook email program to run on Apple's iPhone and iPad, hoping to attract the millions of users familiar with Outlook from their work desktops.

The iOS Outlook client gives iPhone and iPad users access to email calendar, contacts, and attachments, and works with Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

Outlook for iPhone and iPad requires iOS 8.0 and above, and replaces Outlook Web Access for iPhone and iPad.

The new Outlook app is based on a popular app made by Acompli, which Microsoft bought in December. Microsoft is also releasing a test version of the Outlook app for Android users.

Microsoft also today made its Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications available for free on Android tablets, 

The new releases are the latest gambits in CEO Satya Nadella's attempt to wrest back the initiative in the battle for mobile users, where Microsoft has fallen behind Apple and Google.

Nadella broke with decades of tradition last March by releasing a free, touch-friendly version of Office for Apple's iPad, before the software was even available for Microsoft's Windows devices.

By giving away its industry-standard Office apps on Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems, Microsoft is looking to build up a base of users which it can later persuade to sign up for Office 365, the full, internet-based version of Office starting at US$7 a month for personal users.

Microsoft has been offering test versions of the Office apps on Android for almost three months, but today marks the first day they are available as finished products from the online Google Play app store.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the key elements of Microsoft's top-selling Office suite of applications, have been a hit on Apple's mobile devices, with 80 million downloads since last March, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft plans to release new, touch-friendly versions of its Office apps for Windows devices later this year when it releases the Windows 10 operating system.

Stay tuned for iTnews' first impressions of the new Outlook app for iPhone and iPad.

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