Microsoft’s apps see a mixed bag of success on mobile

If you were wondering how Microsoft’s apps were doing on mobile devices in comparison to competitors like Google, analyst firm 7Park Data crunched the numbers earlier this year to shed some light on the situation.

While Microsoft’s business apps are fairly popular on Excel, Goog;e’s productivity apps frequently were downloaded and used more on mobile devices with the exception of Microsoft Excel – which received better use than Google Sheets.

Microsoft’s very useful service OneDrive was also a strong performer, with over 18% of the audience having installed it and 3% using it monthly.


Other Key findings from 7Park Data App Intelligence include the following:

  • Excel was the most frequently installed and used app. By the end of 2016, Excel had a higher number of monthly active users (MAUs) than Google Sheets, even though the latter had a higher number of installs. Excel is the only Microsoft app that is outperforming its Google competition on Android devices.
  •  Microsoft OneNote (whose main competitor is Evernote) saw some growth in installs in 2016, but stagnated towards the end of the year. In October 2016, when Microsoft launched new features and reintroduced old favorites, the app saw a sharp growth in active users, but it didn’t last. In the meantime, Evernote, despite a slight decline in MAUs in 2016, didn’t experience any significant changes.
  •  Other Microsoft apps have either stagnated or been in decline, experiencing some short-lived growth spurts around updates. Uncoupling and marketing Excel as a standalone app has served well for Microsoft in gaining new active users and competing with other apps in the category.

We asked around to see how other apps like Groove and Xbox were doing, but it was more of the same. Microsoft’s Groove – despite constant improvement and growth on both PCs and the iPhone and Android – was only used by roughly 0.0548% of users on a month to month basis.

On the one hand, Microsoft clearly isn’t interested in pushing a consumer ecosystem. Rather, they would prefer to be the backend of things and excel with the Office and similarly productivity apps on the mobile end – and the Azure on the cloud end.

However, with Windows 10 now having a heavy focus on Microsoft’s built-in apps – perhaps Microsoft needs to improve its app quality so they get more attention from users. As excellent as Groove or the Xbox app are on the PCs, they still remain a step or 10 behind on mobile devices which users use more.  Even OneDrive – which has captured the hearts of many – is still behind DropBox in ubiquity and Google Photos in photo management for now.

Would you want to see a renewed Microsoft app push on Androids and iPhones? Let us know in the comments below.

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