Microsoft Buys Acompli, an Email Start-Up

Microsoft once again is showing that it wants to meet mobile users where they are, not where the company hopes they will be one day.
The company said it had acquired Acompli, a young start-up that makes an email application for iOS and Android mobile devices. Microsoft is paying around $200 million for the company, according to someone briefed on the deal, who asked for anonymity because terms of the agreement were private.
Acompli, only 18 months old, was founded with the “vision of making the best mobile email application on any platform and across all services,” Javier Soltero, the chief executive of the company, said in a blog post on Monday. Basic email applications are already a core part of the software that comes with mobile devices, but that hasn’t stopped a number of start-ups from attempting to innovate in the category.
Acompli has received praise from reviewers, especially for a feature that attempts to intelligently organize incoming messages, creating a queue for the most important ones so people can be more efficient on their mobile devices.
The deal, though, is another sign of how completely Microsoft has shaken up its playbook in the mobile market since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive this year. Mr. Nadella has made the development of apps and services for the two highest volume mobile platforms — Android and Apple’s iOS — a top priority. Before Mr. Nadella took over, the company focused most of its energy on stealing market share for Windows Phone, its own mobile operating system, with disappointing results.
Mr. Nadella has released versions of Office, its cash cow applications, for Android and iOS. The company recently decided to make full-featured versions of the app free.
While it didn’t reveal its plans for Acompli, Microsoft said it would combine its efforts with work being done by the team responsible for Outlook, Microsoft’s email, calendar and contact management software for computers. Rajesh Jha, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said in a blog post that the deal “will expedite our work to deliver the full power of Office to mobile devices.” He promised more details in the coming months.