Microsoft is preparing to enter into the crowded messaging market with a new app called Flow, according to publicly accessible webpage. Set to launch on iOS first, details on the upcoming app were uncovered by Twitter user h0x0d.
Based on the information available on the uncovered webpage, it’s best to think of Flow as a kind Slack for external email contacts. When and if it’s released, the app will tap into a person’s Outlook address book, allowing them to send instant messages to their email contacts. “Use Flow with anyone. It’s email,” says the document. “Flow is designed for fast, light-weight conversations in real-time. No subject lines, salutations, or signatures.”
Additionally, while it’s possible to view Flow conversations in Outlook, Flow won’t pull email threads from Outlook. “Only conversations started in Flow and their replies show up in Flow, not your whole inbox,” it says.
Clicking on the download link that’s on the page brings up a password prompt.
As several other publications have pointed out, there are a couple reasons why this might not be a hoax, despite the name of Twitter user who found the page. First of all, Microsoft has released similar apps in the past. Qik basically has the same relationship with Skype that Flow will reportedly have with Outlook. Secondly, Flow will give Microsoft a seemingly compelling solution with which to enter into the crowded but lucrative messaging market.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if Microsoft actually releases Flow. Several publications have reached out to Microsoft, asking the company to comment on the leak, but so far Microsoft hasn’t responded.
At the very least, however, it’s an interesting concept, and something that could be a huge hit for Microsoft.