It’s the latest Android app from Microsoft Garage, the company’s secretive skunkworks for experimental apps.
The Google Play store description promises that Kaizala “helps you get your work done by tracking bills, jobs, location and much more – and, it’s as simple as chat.”
In other words, it’s designed to bring all of your important information straight into a chat room with colleagues and customers alike. That’s a huge part of the vision behind Slack and other work chat apps like Atlassian HipChat, and it’s an area where Microsoft’s existing tools are lagging.
Kaizala’s existence is not especially surprising, though. It was recently reported that Bill Gates talked Microsoft out of bidding $8 billion for Slack, urging the company to instead build out its existing Skype chat and voice calling tools.
The purpose of Microsoft Garage apps is to have a consequence-free sandbox for testing new ideas on iOS and Android. The app features that work well may find their way back into the products Microsoft actually sells, like Windows and Office 365. The ones that don’t are discarded without foisting unwanted changes onto users.
It’s certainly possible that Microsoft sees Kaizala as being important to the all-important Office 365 business in the future. And the early reviews from the Google Play app store are largely positive.
But a more likely future for Kaizala involves taking whatever feedback Microsoft gathers and integrating it with Skype, as it works to stave off the threat presented by upstarts like Slack.