Microsoft raised the curtain on Kaizala last month, a low key debut of a service that offers free chat aimed at workforces.
The app is compatible with Android tablets and smartphones and was created by Microsoft's Garage division, which is a skunkworks of sorts corner of Redmond that allows workers to collaborate on products and services that will not be part of Microsoft's core suites.
Kaizala fits into the Garage mold considering Microsoft already has a potent business and personal oriented chat/video service in Skype.
Sure, Kaizala feels a little more nuanced than that and is much more oriented towards enterprise than Skype.
Indeed, it is easy to see it as a competitor to Slack, the startup service that has quickly grown in popularity and is now valued at $3.7 billion. The Kaizala application is now available on the Google Play Store for Android devices and is described as a service that “helps you get your work done by tracking bills, jobs, locations and much more – and, it's as simple as chat.”
This means the service places all-important information into the chat room for users to access and share, mirroring other work chat services. Admittedly, this kind of enterprise oriented functionality is something Microsoft does not currently have, even on Skype.
Interestingly, Microsoft has been named as a potential buyer of Slack, but the company was pushed by Bill Gates to develop its own work chat management service instead. Whether Microsoft is looking at Kaizala as a proof of concept before making a full featured app or integrating the service into Skype remains to be seen.
Microsoft Garage has developed plenty of useful tools, but mostly there are apps and features that Microsoft already offers in some capacity. Kaizala could be the most interesting project yet and could one day be folded into all Microsoft services like Windows, Office, and Azure.