While the media covers Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attempt to transition Twitter into an “Everything” app, per his own phrasing, Microsoft has been quietly attempting to pull off a similar feat for some time.
With platforms such as Office, Azure, LinkedIn, Xbox, Windows and MSN, Microsoft is looking to combine those efforts with its backend advertising platform to produce a single “super app” that can help centralize users shopping, search, news, messaging and social experiences.
According to a report from the Information, Microsoft executives were hoping Microsoft could pull off an impressive cross-over effort in acquiring platforms such as TikTok or Discord to help synergize usage of its other properties like Teams or even Bing Search on mobile.
Microsoft has neither confirmed or denied its efforts to create the “everything app” but recent moves, rhetoric, attempted and successful acquisitions by the company can telegraph a relatively clear effort to leverage several thriving platforms into a single marketplace for multiple experiences on mobile.
Recently, head of Xbox Phil Spence mentioned that if Microsoft is successful in purchasing gaming publisher Activision Blizzard for $68B, it intends to create a third alternative mobile gaming app store to compete alongside Apple and Google. While gaming remains a relatively niche hobby on PCs, it makes up a large share of activity on a mobile device and if leveraged correctly could foster extended experiences in other related platforms like advertising, messaging, search, and content creation.
Microsoft could also play the long game and leverage its burgeoning advertising platform with new found partnerships and product access to gather enough multifaceted audience telemetry to start providing its own in-house app alternatives for things like, shopping, payments, financing, and recommendations, something it’s been slowly doing with its Edge browser.
The issue for Microsoft is that most of its current pillar platforms are great at helping hold up business frameworks and work well for desktops but not very many consumer-focused social experiences like say WeChat for mobile devices.
Microsoft will need to be much more focused at either purchasing its missing link platform or pivoting an existing one such as Xbox, to achieve a proposed “super app” ambition.