Microsoft may be developing an IM-style email app

Leaked download page points towards Flow being a lightweight app resembling "WhatsApp for email"

Microsoft may be adding to its mobile family with a communication app designed to rejuvenate email.

Yesterday Twitter user @h0x0d shared an image of a download page for a new iOS app, Flow, that was presumably intended to remain hidden from the public. Another tweeter, @jugojl6, responded somewhat more dubiously that he had seen the aforementioned app in action in Beijing earlier this year.

The snapped screen gives an overview of Flow's intended functionality. The app is intended for "fast, fluid, natural conversations", with "no subject lines, salutations, or signatures" and can be used to speak to "anyone with an email address." 

You can't be blamed for thinking that this spec sounds familiar. After all, it resembles the MO of Skype, WhatsApp and most other instant messanging services out there. It sounds like Microsoft is building an IM client that works via email rather than its own servers.

It's unsurprising that Microsoft might be attempting an email revolution: the corporation is still a leader in email clients but the system has aged badly since the advent of smartphone tech. Many companies now celebrate their email free status and streamlined small-to-medium business communication tools like Slack are steadily gnawing away at the use of traditional email clients.

The idea of 'instant email' is undeniably appealing, but we wonder whether those without Flow will be confused by a sudden increase in the rate of emails from Flow users. Recieving seven one-line emails from a prospective business interest is likely to be a turn-off for many. The spec states that "only conversations started in Flow and their replies show up in Flow", but we assume you can start a conversation with anyone this way. Due caution will probably be advised.

The how, when, and where are still unknown, as the leaked download page affords us no more morsels of information. CNET asked Microsoft to comment but, unsurprisingly, didn't receive anything beyond a vague "Nothing to see here TBH".

We suspect, however, that Microsoft wouldn't be fiddling around with public web pages if a product wasn't toward the end of its development cycle. Look out for more info on Flow, possibly of the official variety, to drop soon.

[Source: CNET]