Microsoft has announced several developer opportunities to extend Office 365, specifically around Outlook encompassing mail, contacts and calendar. All those initiatives focus around the business side of Microsoft’s email, contacts and calendaring, until now.
On October 30, Microsoft announced a similar initiative to have developers build apps to extend the consumer side of their email, contacts and calendaring called Apps for Outlook.com. This initiative will let developers build extensions that target a potential user base of 400 million.
In a sign of Microsoft “merging” the back-end technologies across business and consumer product lines, they also said that even though this functionality will be available only in Spring 2015, developers can start now by building apps against Outlook Web App. In other words, apps built for Outlook Web App today will work seamlessly with Outlook.com too. This is good news for developers, obviously, because now developers building productivity apps don’t have to worry about enterprise vs consumer our Outlook vs Hotmail/Outlook.com.
It should be noted, Google has already built APIs to enable developers build apps against Google Apps which include GMail, Google Contacts and Google Calendar. These APIs also allow access to several other entities in Google Apps.
An example of an Outlook map running Bing Maps contextually: