Email startup Acompli to join Microsoft's Office team?

Microsoft may have accidentally announced its plan to acquire popular free email app Acompli.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft may be on the cusp of announcing its acquisition of Acompli, the startup behind a popular free email app for professional users.

It's not uncommon for news of an acquisition to leak before a deal has been finalised. It's less common, however, for the leak to occur through an official blog post, which surfaced — albeit without content — in RSS feeds earlier today. The blog post was part of the Official Microsoft Blog and had the URL: http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/11/25/microsoft-acquires-acompli/. The URL now delivers a 404 page that reads: "We're sorry, but we can't find the page you're looking for."

First noticed by Betanews, the post from Microsoft was authored by Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's corporate VP for Office services and servers, the person responsible for Office 365, Exchange, Outlook, and Outlook.com.

ZDNet's James Kendrick has called Acompli a "must-have" app for BYOD, and one which addresses some of the shortcomings in Microsoft's Outlook offering for iOS. Its standout features for any user are an integrated calendar and simple methods to share files from various cloud accounts. But for Microsoft users, the big plus is Exchange support. The app also has some of the smarts that Microsoft has been implementing through its Clutter feature for its Outlook Web App for iOS and Android.

Besides Exchange, the app also support Office 365, Google Apps, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Live email services, as well as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Acompli, which is headed up by former execs from Zimbra and VMware, launched its iOS app in April and followed it up with an Android app in September.

Perhaps Acompli CEO Javier Soltero can help Microsoft deal with the problems he sees Outlook having as a native mobile app for iOS and Android — namely that whatever Microsoft develops, Outlook on mobile won't live up to the desktop experience Outlook users are familiar with. 

"You see, the moment 'it looks and smells like Outlook,' the user immediately expects parity with the desktop experience, the dominant use case with which they are most familiar. No iPad or mobile app can live up to that expectation," Soltero wrote on the company blog, panning the company's desicion not to include Outlook with its Office for iOS launch.  

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had comment on the matter when contacted by ZDNet. 

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