Outlook vs. native apps in Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android

Office 2016 has largely unified the Exchange experience on the desktop, but native apps still do better overall on mobile clients

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Microsoft’s two-year-long effort to rework its Outlook applications and server software continued to advance with Monday’s announcement that the software developer is adding the ability to add and edit contacts in Outlook on Apple's iOS.

According to details posted in Microsoft’s Office blog, those same features will also roll out soon to Android. Microsoft redesigned the contact card to show more details and enabled easier calling and messaging with users' contacts. By tapping on a name in messages or events, you can access   phone numbers, email addresses and other details, like Skype IDs, along with your contact’s picture.

Users will also be able to save contacts to the default Contacts app on iOS and Android. This would allow users to see the name of a contact when receiving a call.

The latest move pushes forward with Microsoft's aim to deliver its Office communications tools everywhere: the Mail, Calendar, People (contacts), and Notes components in Outlook.

I also compared OneNote across platforms; it syncs through Office 365 and SharePoint. Microsoft clearly is planning to move users away from Outlook’s basic notes features to OneNote’s, but integration between OneNote and Outlook is nonexistent right now. That’s a symptom of Microsoft’s strategy to have a hodgepodge of clients whose capabilities vary widely as it figures out its long-term client mix, a situation that can bedevil multiplatform organizations.

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