back to article Microsoft reportedly mulls a does-everything 'super app' to expand mobile search

Microsoft officials have reportedly batted about the idea of a smartphone "super app" that would combine a range of mobile consumer services to fuel advertising and drive users to products including Bing and Teams. It also would help Microsoft chip away at the dominant positions Google and Apple hold in the mobile search …

  1. Baudwalk

    I actually ...

    ...quite like New Microsoft.

    Windows 11 is visually a step in the right direction, IMHO, and their webby stuff works quite well in Penguin land too.

    But to really win me over, they would have to disable all the ads for 365 subscribers.

    1. AbominableCodeman

      Re: I actually ...

      As someone who finally bit the bullet and went filly Linux this year because of win 11 trash (and Valves sterling efforts to getting everything I consider essential on windows running in Linux) seem to have forgotten the punchline.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: I actually ...

        >went filly Linux

        Filly Linux. The Stable Distro.

        (sorry. Couldn't resist. That's my coat there, thanks...)

        1. Lil Endian Silver badge

          Re: I actually ...

          $ echo "fil stable mane" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

          (Right behind you...)

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I actually ...

          Now I'm imagining ads for Suse Tumbleweed with Applejack as the celebrity spokespony, damn it.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: I actually ...

      This is like when Arthur Dent told the Vogon captain that he enjoyed the poetry reading, isn't it?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I actually ...

        Funny you should say that. My first reaction on reading the article was a very Marvin-like "Sounds ghastly..."

  2. IlGeller

    Of course it does! Now Microsoft has Internet and database industry.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Dude. Dude. Nicely incoherent, but you failed to mention artificial intelligence or your patents.

      3/10 for lunacy. Please try harder next time.

      1. IlGeller

        I didn't explain how to create a real artificial intelligence? I have repeated many times: the real artificial intelligence is obtained by lexical cloning of one person, with respect to his bias. Try, for instance, use (separately) the writings of Dickens, Shakespeare, Mark Twain or Barack Obama? Instead of incoherent texts from Internet? And you will get what you want: the genuine AI.

        Look what happened when Openal, instead of producing the stupid model GPT-3, cloned real people with respect to their biases, and got lexical clones? What splash it produced? Even if these people, at the first glance, were not... the indeed great thinkers, of the caliber of Hegel or Einstein? Now imagine that all the texts of Poincare, Plato or Lenin are used? I tried it many years ago, I know.

        1. Lil Endian Silver badge

          Instead of incoherent texts from Internet?


          I've tried reading your post a couple of times...


          1. IlGeller

            Re: Instead of incoherent texts from Internet?

            There is no a single and abstract artificial intelligence. Each artificial intelligence replicates, reproduces a real person, who is its prototype. With all his character traits (bais) and knowledge. OpenAI demonstrates this.

            For example, twenty years ago I reproduced Hillary Clinton and Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, with their writings and speeches; as OpenAI now reproduces unknown people. I also did the same (lexically cloned) with Alan Greenspan and President Bush, in 2002, a few years before PA Advisors vs Google. After PA Advisors I couldn't continue for 12 years, thanks to people from Google and FB.

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              "Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield"

              All right, we've reached Peak IlGeller now.


  3. Bruce Ordway


    anything but...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does-everything 'super app'

    several billion USD later...

    1. AbominableCodeman

      Re: does-everything 'super app'

      In my day, we used to call that an operating system.

      1. logicalextreme Silver badge

        Re: does-everything 'super app'

        Ah yes, but your "operating system" doesn't run everything in a single process, does it? I suppose you think the separation of kernel and user space is a good thing too.

    2. IlGeller

      Re: does-everything 'super app'

      Several trillion, sorry. Have respect to Microsoft and Bill Gates personally. Hats off!

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: does-everything 'super app'

      They could buy

      1. The Velveteen Hangnail

        Re: does-everything 'super app'

        The only limit is yourself!

  5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Microsoft: Reinventing the Past, Badly

    What MS wants to do is to turn your expensive PC into a television, with limited end-user controls and one-way data flow: their ads, into your eyeballs and ears.

    1. YetAnotherXyzzy Bronze badge

      Re: Microsoft: Reinventing the Past, Badly

      Oh, you mean they want to copy Apple?

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    Isn't that what Office already is?

    At least for corporate folks?

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Please no

    Oh lord please help us.

    When Windows can't find the applications you installed so that you have to go manually find it and they want to create a super app?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Please no

      The only solution to crappy programs are more, different crappy programs. "Look! Over here!... Shiny!"

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Please no

      Look on the bright side. Only one Microsoft app to refuse / uninstall / disable.

  8. abetancort

    Twitter Dream

    Elon Musk sweet dream with Twitter. I prefer almighty Microsoft any day than Musk.

  9. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge


    Look, I'm not a Microsoft hater. I like Teams and Outlook, and I run Windows 11 voluntarily (quiet, you at the back). I also run Firefox and use DDG as my primary search engine, and I have a very low tolerance for advertising, especially advertising where it's not expected such as in my office productivity tools, which is why I run multi-layered ad-blocking. Just leave it alone, Microsoft . . . if people aren't using Bing, maybe the problem isn't that they don't know about it, maybe it's because Bing sucks.

    1. Lorribot

      Re: Augh

      One of DDGs main sources of information is Bing.

      I would suggest that any search engine is better than Google, but may not return the same results as Google which may not be a bad thing.

      I have never actually heard why people think Bing is a bad search engine, just too easy to slate it I guess. I wonder if Google will held similarly when people finally get board with it?

      Advertising pays for all the free internet, the only other option is paywalls.

      Life is sad, the end is nigh and Putin has the Nuclear option so enjoy what you do and don't worry the pain will be over soon.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Augh

        Bing maps is surprisingly good. More up to date and higher resolution than the stuff from google.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Augh

          The main thing I find useful is the OS maps on it.

      2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Augh

        Sadly, Bing is bad. I know this because even though I love DDG (which mostly uses Bing) and it's my default search, I'm increasingy having to !g when it completely ignores a fundamental key word in what I'm searching for.

        1. logicalextreme Silver badge

          Re: Augh

          Yeah, I've never actively used Bing so I've never been quite sure whether DDG acts the way it does just because it's directly relating Bing's responses to your query, or whether DDG is doing its own mangling before giving you the results, but I've never been able to use it as my daily driver.

          Google have (for all their faults) pretty much nailed search, and despite the sometimes-aggressive insistence on returning "autocorrected" results even after clicking the "search instead for" link, you have several advanced search syntax options (though they're not comprehensively documented and seem to be removed or changed on a whim).

          I could easily lose several minutes a day trying to use DDG as my primary, and as much as I'd like to support them and de-Google myself in equal measure it's just not worth the hassle. I do give it a go every few months to see if the situation's improved but I've been doing that for easily a decade now and nothing seems to have changed.

      3. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Augh

        Last time I used bing, I was looking for drivers for a particular Dell laptop. I entered in the exact same information I would have entered into Google.

        First 6 results were for shitty driver updater programs, then a page worth of Dell forum and knowledge base results, before finally giving me the result I needed, which was a link to the driver download page hosted by Dell.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So a web browser.

    1. IlGeller

      Not really a browser: it's a database where everything is known and controlled. That is, goodbye Internet and hello Microsoft database.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Big Brother

        it's a database where everything is known and controlled.

        And all of Oceania says doubleplusgood.

        1. IlGeller

          In any case, there will be no crime online, as there will be no more anonymity. Social networks will change because now you will immediately find people close to you in spirit. Not bad in my opinion? Well, for me personally justice will prevail, those who robbed me will be punished and the largest fortunes will disappear like snow under the sun. Also not bad?

      2. logicalextreme Silver badge

        Makes sense. The internet's been on a downward trajectory for some time; seems like the logical endpoint is that it just becomes the Windows Registry.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Hmm, let's look at the existing super-app example and see:

      > food delivery to car and bike rentals to a Venmo-like digital wallet

      Yup, all things that can currently be done with one app, the web browser. Anything else that could be included?

      > calling and messaging app, which also includes censored news, online shopping, and games

      Those also sound really familiar. More?

      > drive users to products including Bing and Teams

      Aha, now we see the flaw in your suggestion, Mr AC. No mere web browser can manage that! This "driving" is *clearly* the USP that end-users are clamouring for. Microsoft have pulled another world-beating idea out of the bag!

  11. Chet Mannly


    "If the report proves true, for Microsoft, a super app could help plug a hole as it competes with Microsoft and Apple,"

    Think that's a typo - unless MS is genuinely trying to outcompete itself. Stranger things have happened I guess :)

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Typo?

      When bidding for Skype, upon discovering it was the only bidder, MS increased its offer. But this was merely the prelude to AQuantative and Nokia minus IP!

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Not really sure why having one bloated super app that 'does everything' is better than several specific apps for what you actually want to do? It might work in China where the gov controls everything but I can't see it catching on in the west.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Come on, it's just the app equivalent of the "web portal" paradigm we had in the 90ies: A single go-to mall where the terminally clueless could find most things they might need in one convenient place.

      Marketing is about not knowing anything about people, but still assuming you are smarter than the rest, so they now they try to marry the failed web portal paradigm with the (once) cool "app" paradigm, to create an integrated "web portal app". Yahoo!

    2. nematoad Silver badge

      Not really sure why having one bloated super app that 'does everything' is better than several specific apps

      Yes, a bit like systemd.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I assume you haven't used Visual Studio, or you'd know one giant instance of integrationitis is not better than separate "do one thing well" tools.

  13. Howard Sway Silver badge

    what MS reportedly want is a way to drive more searches to Bing, grow its advertising business

    How exciting, they've decided they want to be Google. Again. Give all the execs another $50 million bonus for this amazing plan.

    Let us at least hope this "super app" is as crappy as most previous MS attempts to copy other people's ideas, so that this ultra vendor lock-in concept dies in the usual mess of unreliability, inconsistency and annoyance.

    1. IlGeller

      Re: what MS reportedly want is a way to drive more searches to Bing, grow its advertising business

      This is not about Google, but the abolition of the Internet as such! If Microsoft can find anything and everything without losing an iota of information, it means that Microsoft has created a database instead of the Internet. At the same time, there will be only one Microsoft search in the database, because this is Microsoft database. All other search engines are simply not needed in it. Consequently, Google remains out of work.

      All information in this Microsoft database is ads and eventually it will charge for everything happens in it. Indeed, Microsoft already charges for the ads making.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite Easy

    All they need to do is make Intune even more annoying than it already is, I'm sure they can do it if they set their minds to it.

  15. Like Magic

    Editorial review required

    "If the report proves true, for Microsoft, a super app could help plug a hole as it competes with Microsoft and Apple, both of which also run their own mobile app stores."????? competes with itself???

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Editorial review required

      > ????? competes with itself???

      Well, yes, of course; hadn't you realised that?

      That is why you get such superior features in all its software as MS continually tries to wrong foot its biggest competitor - itself!

  16. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    More like that news widget?

    Wow, what a crock that is! Wave the mouse near it and suddenly a load of your workspace is covered in this massive popover panel that captures clicks on it. And what's in it? Just a load of generica, that nobody really wants. Of course, whilst you can hide it, it's not really gone it's still snooping in the background.....

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Which "superapp"?

    Western users are quite different from Chinese ones. Many didn't discover the Internet because of smartphones, and aren't dependent on a single app. Many still like to use plastic cards to pay, because they have bank accounts, and like something that is smaller, easy to carry around, and doesn't need to be charged each day to work. Also, they are accepted in many places where phones won't work (try to refuel your car here...). I can easily put my card on NFC-enable terminals (most of them) and type a PIN when needed - far easier than trying to get a 6" (or larger) phone out of my pocket or bag, unlock it, etc. etc.

    Moreover, what app does MS have people can't live without? Outlook? Maybe Facebook is in a better place to deliver that - still even most Whatsapp users aren't so locked-in - they can easily switch to their bank app to perform bank-related tasks. There is also more competition among banks than there is in China, probably.

    This is mostly wishful thinking - they see the huge success of some entities in a a totally different society and market and believe they can easily repeat it in a totally different situation. It won't work, simply.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Which "superapp"?

      Upvote for "PIN" and not pin number.

      The latter drives me to distraction.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Which "superapp"?

        Upvote for "PIN" and not pin number.

        The latter drives me to distraction.

        When standing at an ATM machine?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One App to Rule them all

    One App to Rule them all,

    One App to Find them,

    One App to Bring them all,

    and in the Darkness bind them

    In the land of M$$$$$ where the Shadows lie.

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Re: One App to Rule them all

      You spelt "Bing" wrong.

  19. Lil Endian Silver badge
    Big Brother! X.COM!?!

    Musk the Usurper! Musk the Defiler!

    There's only one XCOM! (Well, one XCOM followed by more than a dozen others, but hey!)

    [Icon: I'm watching you Musk.]

  20. ChoHag Silver badge

    They could call it ...

    Application Explorer.

  21. ThatOne Silver badge

    MS ads

    > because Windows users just looooove MS ads

    Sure they do, why else would they use Windows, Office and the whole shebang?

    MS marketing knows people yearn for fresh new experiences (don't clench your buttocks!) and to be helped spending all that useless money their employers insist on piling on them. You know they do, it's been clearly the two mainstays of their strategy for decades now.

  22. Michael Strorm Silver badge

    A "does-everything 'super app'"?

    Isn't there already an Android port of Emacs?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: A "does-everything 'super app'"?

      Oh god, really? How much memory does your phone need to run it?

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: A "does-everything 'super app'"?

        "Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping"

        He probably has more than double 8MB :-)

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: A "does-everything 'super app'"?

          That joke is at least 35 years old(*), back when 8 MB was a lot of memory. When fully loaded I'd expect emacs these days to take up gigbytes.

          (*) As is ENOTONHORSE for "Mount failed".

  23. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Elon invented it first registered in 1999; wechat available from 2011; MS still playing catch up.

    Clearly Musk should be given all the credit[1] for any and all "super apps", we need to make sure he is given his due. Maybe we ought to encourage him to sue Tencent?

    [1] oops, typo - for "credit" read "blame"; sorry 'bout that.

  24. IlGeller

    By the way, not only Google and Fb will suffer from the fact that Microsoft established firmly its database, taking what was left of the Internet. Almost all IT companies, let me say 98%, will soon go out of business, as they will not be able to catch up with Microsoft, which has began its spur 5-6 years ago. "Hee-hee," I gloat.

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