Microsoft has unveiled a new app dedicated to helping users to organise meetings, which it has made available first for iPhone users, with Windows Phone and Android versions in the pipeline.
Invite, available to download now from Apple's iTunes App Store, is billed as an app designed to help groups of users agree on a time to meet, even when they are unable to see each other's schedules.
The app, which is currently only available for users in the US and Canada, has been designed to overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings, according to Microsoft - that of not being able to see the calendars of people you want to be in the meeting.
Invite works on a fairly simple premise. It allows the user to suggest potential meeting times that work for them, and then invite a list of other attendees. Each attendee then receives an email - or an app notification if they have also have Invite installed - and can then pick the times that work for them, either via the app itself or from a browser.
Once everyone has responded, the meeting organiser can choose a final date and time, and tap Send Calendar Invites to mark it on the calendars of all the attendees.
According to Microsoft, Invite can be used with any email address, but naturally works best if the user has an Office 365 business or school subscription, as this allows the user to choose attendees from a list of their frequent contacts. If invitations are sent from a non-Office 365 account, attendees will instead receive invites in the form of an email containing an iCalendar .ICS attachment.
Invite is apparently a product of Microsoft's Garage project lab, but is a good example of the cross-platform approach that the software giant has adopted since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive in 2014.
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