Microsoft recently considered building a “super app” that could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app, in what would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions. Microsoft executives wanted the app to boost the company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business and Bing search, as well as draw more users to Teams messaging and other mobile services.
Unlike Apple and Google, Microsoft doesn’t operate a mobile app store for smartphone users. By creating an all-in-one app that people don’t need to leave to access its other offerings, Microsoft hoped to emulate a mobile strategy that has worked for Tencent. The Chinese firm’s WeChat app, which combines messaging with shopping, online games, news and a variety of services including grocery ordering, is a source of inspiration for top Microsoft executives, the people said.