Surprising as it may seem, Microsoft is pretty darn good at creating iPhone apps. It’s latest entry, Windows Live Messenger, became available as a free download in the iTunes App Store on Monday.
Although the central premise of the app is to stay on top of your Windows Live network and chat with your buddies, the company has added a few additional features sure to please any Live user.
Microsoft has also enabled push notifications, which will alert the user to new IMs when the app is closed. As long as your buddy has connected his or her Live account to other social networking sites, you will be able to see what he or she is sharing on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among others on the social stream screen which greets users as they load the application.
Hotmail access in-application is also provided (you can see it in the screenshot, its the glowing orange icon in the upper right hand corner), although there is no link provided from the bottom menu. That’s a bit of a shame but definitely could be added in a future release.
Messenger is the fourth iPhone application to be released by Microsoft. The company’s first application was Seadragon Mobile, a Photosynth viewer released in December 2008. This was followed by Microsoft’s Bing search app in March, and then Tag, a reader for its proprietary QR code-like offering in May.
I am fairly impressed with the app, and it seems like with each one coming out of Microsoft, the company gets better and better. I’m now wondering if the folks they have developing these should be giving some advice to the rest of the software developers at Redmond on how to design functional apps without the clutter…