THE WORLD doesn't have enough messaging apps, seemingly. Despite having Skype, Microsoft has announced it is rolling out its experimental Kaizala app.
ZDNet reports that the Azure based messenger which began life as one of the company's ‘Garage' experiments, has been graduated from a localised Indian app to park of the Microsoft Office family.
It's available for free on Android and iOS, but if you're not running on a commercial Microsoft Office account, you'll be charged a buck-and-a-half a month for the Pro edition which has a bunch of features that aren't in the standard version - mostly surrounding group management and analytics.
So do we need it? Microsoft certainly seems to think that it compliments Skype rather well, and will be a better option for those who want to use messaging for work, but who aren't deskbound.
It sounds a little like…. (whispers) WhatsApp. And true enough, that's exactly what it is. Except there's no video chat. And it's enterprise focused.
Kaizala will only work if it has been enabled for your company's domain and it is, by default, switched off.
So it does exactly what Skype does, only less, and its not actually available for Windows.
Isn't that weird?
It's another gentle sign that Microsoft's long-term ambition lies well beyond the desktop. That's not to say it never will be - it's not tied to your phone number or any of that nonsense.
However, when pressed, Microsoft wouldn't comment on the possibility of a Universal Windows Apps (UWP / Tiled / Metro) or Progressive Web App version, stating that there was "nothing more to share".
So it could happen, down the line if is shown to be a success, but we're still not entirely sure why anyone needs another messaging app. Could be worse, last time we checked, Google had six.
We look forward to charting Kaizala's progress from Garage, to rollout, to ‘retired due to low usage'. μ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked