Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) presented on Thursday a new add-in for Outlook to schedule meetings at Starbucks based on the user’s location. Users can also send gift cards via email. The new feature is available for free in the Office Store, while Mac users will have to wait a few months.
Outlook.com clients only need to click on “Meet at Starbucks” command, when adding a meeting request to an email. Locations of nearby stores will appear on a map, to be selected by people as the place for their upcoming reunion.
Coffee lovers can also send a Starbucks eGift Card using Microsoft’s email service. Everyone using this feature will participate for free $5 eGift cards. Over the last two years, the tech industry has been trying to integrate commercial services to products used by millions on their daily basis.
For instance, Gmail can send money when connected to Google Wallet, while Facebook users can request a cab service directly from the Messenger app. The new Microsoft-Starbucks alliance only works when using the web version of the email service, or the Windows app.
Microsoft is planning to add the new feature to Outlook for Mac and Outlook Mobile in the coming months. According to the software and hardware giant headquartered in Redmond, building strong relationships is fundamental to achieve success in business.
“That truth is sometimes lost in our hyper-connected world, where more meetings are conducted remotely or in a formal office environment. Strong relationships grow by developing personal connections, which are best-made face-to-face in a friendly environment, over a cup of coffee,” said Microsoft in a blog post.
Starbucks: The technology-friendly company now counts on Microsoft as an ally
The company led by Satya Nadella said it expects to continue collaborating with Starbucks. The new feature to schedule meetings would be added in more regions worldwide. A Microsoft spokesperson told CNN that the coffee company can massively reach users, via the new add-in.
Starbucks has been expanding its business in the United States. The coffeehouse chain has a mobile app for iOS and Android, which allow users to skip lines by paying in advance. A representative for the company told CNN the new add-in will save time to customers.
According to Microsoft, Starbucks fans have offered a great feedback about the new feature, which can be downloaded from the Office Store. From June 16 to July 15, the coffee company will give out 50,000 $5 vouchers to people who send gift cards using the email service.
Make Starbucks your new meeting room with the new Starbucks for Outlook add-in! https://t.co/fjv5iK5ShQ
— Microsoft Mechanics (@MSFTMechanics) June 15, 2016
A new model of business: Companies seek to integrate services and products in the ad-blocking era
Earlier on 2016, Microsoft presented a new Shutterstock add-in for PowerPoint. As a result, subscribers of the image and video provider can insert content directly into slides. The service is only available for Office365 customers.
Over the last two years, tech companies have shown interest in integrating all types of services, with products used on the daily basis. The most profitable business on the Internet is advertising because markets are already segmented and located.
A new business model is becoming popular since users are finding ways to block advertising from email and web browsers. Software companies have been trying to integrate new services, which appear more useful than intrusive.
For instance, Facebook has allied with Uber and KLM to offer their services directly through the Messenger App. On the other hand, Apple has acquired the Chinese taxi company Didi Chucking, to follow a similar strategy.
— Radu Stefan (@radust777) June 17, 2016