Microsoft Ventures Invests In Zula…
…Zula, the mobile productivity app. Zula is the combined brainchild of Jeff Pulver and Jacob Ner-David; a solution to the challenge of mobile team communication.
Zula recently announced the launch of their Android App adding to their existing iOS App.
Can’t We Just Use Email Like Everyone Else?
Email as a team communication solution for productive work is as effective as using one of the existing IM Apps out there.
Even with filters, flags or rules (depending on which email system you are using) emails get lost in the herd. Following threads can be a challenge at the best of times and the ability to find a specific piece of information after the fact can reduce a grown man to tears.
Add to that the tendency of workers to often send attachments and not take full advantage of linking to shared documents / media in the cloud and email is just so pre-Y2K.
Throw Mobile into the Mix
Microsoft Ventures makes a strong point in their press release that Zula are meeting the challenges of mobile productivity with their App. In the past, in fact back in February 2012 I’d made some pointed suggestions about Skype here on Warptest in the hope that Microsoft was on my wavelength.
Image cropped from infographic courtesy of Microsoft News
One of the speculations for the $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer by Microsoft was as a foil to Google+. The expectation was that Google+ with Google Apps / Drive and hangouts would become the primary collaborative environment for companies using Google Apps.
Meanwhile Yammer is moving towards full integration with Office365, Sharepoint and Microsoft Dynamics but more importantly has mobile applications for Android, iOS and of course Windows Phone.
The Big Question
So why would Microsoft Ventures invest in Zula, which seems to be a clear competitor for Yammer?
The Warptest POV
Putting aside the fact that Google seems asleep at the wheel with selling Google+ as the central hub for collaborative, real-time productivity, it’s important to keep in mind that: –
- Whilst Yammer has mobile apps for the platform is it really a mobile-centric or scalable solution? Developing a mobile App for a desktop solution is not the same as creating a mobile-centric solution and if you are going to invest in that then it pays to find the right people to invest in too.
- Yammer touts itself as Enterprise that’s all well and good but a solution for smaller companies, offshore and ad hoc projects make sense too. Zula is filling a niche that Yammer didn’t focus on.
- The backend: I’ve mentioned before that it’s my belief that Microsoft sees the value in making backend sales as an entry point into company purchasing. As Zula scales with greater numbers of users what will the backend be for its Android and iOS Apps?
IMHO well played Microsoft Ventures for not missing a product or team with huge potential and congratulations to Zula for getting that investment.
So the only question I have right now is,
When do we see the Windows Phone version of Zula? I know I would love to take it for a spin.
If you haven’t tried Zula yet and want to, the links to the two app stores are here.