Microsoft reportedly plans to make a ‘super app’ for iPhone and Android that brings a ton of the company’s services into one spot. The plan is reportedly part of an effort to compete better in the mobile search space.
The details come from The Information (via 9to5Mac), which explained that Microsoft wants to “emulate a mobile strategy that has worked for Tencent,” referring to the company’s WeChat app. WeChat, for the uninitiated, is an extremely popular messaging platform in China that combines other features, like shopping, news, and games, in one place.
The Information reports that Microsoft considered building a similar super app that “could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app.” The publication goes on to describe the plans:
“[It] would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions. Microsoft executives wanted the app to boost the company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business and Bing search, as well as draw more users to Teams messaging and other mobile services.”
However, The Information also said it wasn’t clear if Microsoft will actually launch the app. At the very least, it appears to be something the company has considered internally.
9to5Mac adds more details about how the app could be a way to combat Google’s search dominance. Currently, Google is the default search engine on Android devices and on Apple’s iPhone, something Google pays a lot of money for. The Information notes that Microsoft has previously bid on becoming the default search engine but ultimately lost to Google.
Of course, Microsoft isn’t the only company hoping to make a successful super app. Elon Musk, who currently spends his days lighting fires at recently-acquired Twitter and then blaming activists for anything that gets burnt, has repeatedly expressed interest in creating “X, the everything app.” Musk described X as a digital town square that can handle payments and suggested it could be like WeChat.
It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can make a super app and if it will gain traction among users. Arguably, making the app is the easier of the two pieces since gaining traction among users means getting people to willingly use Bing, something Microsoft historically hasn’t done successfully.