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Microsoft rumoured to be taking on Google and Apple with ‘super app’

Microsoft is rumoured to be working on a so-called “super app” that will rival Google and Apple for a slice of the mobile search pie.

According to The Information, Microsoft is looking to produce a new multi-function “super app” that would emulate China’s WeChat for the rest of the world.

For those who’ve never heard of the WeChat app, it handles a vast number of tasks for Chinese users, including messaging, shopping, payments, news, and online games. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for the vast majority of tasks you perform on your smartphone.

It comes at a time when Microsoft executives are still ruminating over how to break into the mobile search and online advertising space in a meaningful way. As platform holders, Google and Apple have a stranglehold on the mobile browser business, while social networks like Facebook and Instagram have their own considerable stakes.

It’s also claimed that by providing a compelling all-in-one platform, Microsoft hopes to be able to divert customers to its other products, such as Microsoft 365.

Microsoft famously arrived late to the modern smartphone business with its own Windows Phone efforts, despite proto-smartphone platform Windows Mobile preceding iOS and Android by a matter of years. More recently, it took a fresh swing at the smartphone hardware market with the Surface Duo 2 (pictured), a classy but flawed (and expensive) foldable.

Microsoft isn’t alone in looking to WeChat for inspiration. A report from last October indicated that PayPal was looking to acquire visual discovery social media platform Pinterest, with the apparent intention of turning its own digital payment platform into a multi-functional super app.

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