Microsoft is ramping out its rollout of its Kaizala group-communications app

Microsoft's WhatsApp-like Kaizala application is rolling out worldwide to Office 365 commercial customers for no additional fee.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft's "Kaizala" app -- which began as a Microsoft Garage incubation project -- started out as a productivity tool specifically for the Indian market. Since then, Microsoft has started broadening its distribution and is making the "Pro" version of the app part of the Office 365 commercial plans worldwide for no additional fee.

Kaizala is a mobile application for Android and iOS that is downloadable for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The Kaizala Pro version -- when not included as part of an Office 365 commercial plan -- is available for $1.50 per user per month. The Pro version includes more group management, advanced reporting and analytics and other capabilities not in the free version. (For a good explanation of the free versus Pro versions of Kaizala, check out this blog post from AvePoint.)

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Kaizala is somewhat similar to Facebook's WhatsApp, in that it provides free wifi messaging among mobile devices. It allows customers to create group chats among specific departments and teams. There's no video calling included as part of Kaizala. Kaizala relies on Azure as its backbone.

As AvePoint and others have noted, there are a lot of Microsoft collaboration tools that overlap, and Kaizala is one more to add to the mix. Maybe we'll see a new variation of the inner loop/outer loop diagram attempting to explain all this?

This year, Microsoft began positioning Kaizala as one of its applications targeted at firstline workers, meaning those "deskless" employees working on the front lines in retail, customer support and other industries. Other products and services with which Microsoft is targeting firstline workers include Microsoft 365 F1, its Teams group-chat service and Windows 10 in S Mode.

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More information about Kaizala is available at microsoft.com/kaizala. Administrators should note that Kaizala will be off by default; administrators will have the option of turning Kaizala on once it is rolled out to their organizations.

Update: I asked Microsoft if there are any plans for a Universal Windows Platform/Progressive Web App version of Kaizala for Windows users. A spokesperson said the company had nothing more to share.

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