Microsoft makes its MSN consumer apps available on iOS, Android, Amazon devices

Microsoft is continuing its cross-platform push, bringing a number of its MSN-branded consumer apps to iOS, Android and Amazon devices.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The team inside Bing that built some of the best "Metro Style" Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps have ported those same apps to iOS, Android and Amazon devices, as promised.

In September, Microsoft officials said to expect the handful of Bing consumer apps -- which Microsoft has rebranded as MSN apps -- to come to iOS and Android "in the coming months." These touch-enabled apps, which include News, Weather, Sports, Money, Health & Fitness, and Food & Drink, previously were available only for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

The new iOS, Android and Amazon versions of these apps are available for download as of December 11 from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Amazon App Store, as well as the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. All of these apps are free.

Microsoft has built new versions of its MSN apps "from the ground up" for non-Windows operating systems, according to company officials. In some cases, Microsoft developers made available new features specific to the various OS platforms. The MSN Health & Fitness app for iOS, for example, enables iPhone users to use the step counter to keep track of daily activity and sync it with Apple HealthKit.

The Microsoft "Bing AppEx" (Applications Experience) team is the one that built the consumer-focused, Bing-powered apps and services for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox.

Before Microsoft made the current crop of MSN apps available across platform, the company had made some of its other consumer-focused apps available on iOS, Android and the Kindle Fire and Kindle Phone platforms, including the Bing search app, OneDrive cloud-storage app and OneNote note-taking app and Skype communications client. These apps weren't built by the Bing AppEx team and aren't part of the MSN app family.

Microsoft's move to bring its MSN apps to competitive mobile platforms is part of the company's ongoing productivity and platforms push. Microsoft officials also may be counting on cross-platform availability of these MSN apps to help drive more users to Microsoft's recently made-over MSN.com site, where favorites and other settings can be shared across Bing, Cortana, the MSN applications and other Microsoft properties.

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