Here's where Microsoft is going with mobile

Getting its apps onto rival platforms was just the start; now that companies have to manage them, Microsoft hopes to help

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At first glance, Microsoft's mobile strategy seems disjointed.

Windows 10 has evolved to support PCs, tablets, and hybrid devices -- including those by third-party OEMs as well as Microsoft's own Surface Pro and Surface Book. And despite a miniscule overall market share, the company continues to invest in both the OS and hardware development of Windows Phone, with some models now able to function as ultra-portable PCs.

At the same time, after years of shunning rival platforms, Microsoft has aggressively moved to get its software onto iOS and Android devices. The move started in earnest a little under two years ago with the release of core Office apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for the iPad and has expanded to include a range of apps like Outlook, One Note and Office Lens. The most recent addition, a Microsoft "app store" app for Android that is essentially a catalog of its Android apps, may be the most puzzling move. But it make also be the most significant.

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