There's no lost love between Google and Microsoft. But they do share a surprising common love: the iPhone.
Google has long been an especially prolific creator of iPhone apps, These have included some of its best-known software and services -- Chrome, GMail, YouTube, Docs, Sheets, Drive, Maps, Translate, Photos -- and some of their more leading-edge ones, including the VR app Cardboard, the VR-like app Spotlight Stories and an app to allow the iPhone to work with new Android Wear smartwatches.
Microsoft, while later to the mobile party in general, has come on a lot stronger lately, releasing and enhancing iOS versions of Skype, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, OneNote and Xbox SmartGlass. It has also scooped up popular iPhone calendar app Sunrise and to-do list Wunderlist,
Recently, both companies added to their iPhone arsenal with two apps that take on everyday digital chores and both say something about where their companies stand.
Google has finally brought Google Keep to the iPhone. The app, long available on Android, brings a way to write or dictate what are basically multimedia stickies that sync across devices and the Web. It competes with Evernote and Microsoft's OneNote (one of Microsoft's first apps for the iPhone) but has a more casual interface.
The timing doesn't seem like an accident. With the recent release of iOS 9, Apple has released a vastly improved Notes app that can accommodate a wider range of media and also syncs across devices and the Web. However, there's no Android or Windows version of that app.
The Microsoft offering comes from Microsoft's Garage app incubator, which has a proclivity for slicing off features from some of Microsoft's powerful enterprise apps and making them more approachable for small work teams or consumers. The enterprising team has previously released the Tossup polling app and the Forum app for online group discussions and has now bowed Invite.
Invite tackles the persistent hassle of trying to schedule a meeting when you don't have access to the other person's availability. It does this by providing a bit of automation and structure around the oft-used e-mail process of suggesting a few times and having the recipient choose one.
Invite isn't the only horse Microsoft has in the meeting time simplification race. The Sunrise app team it acquired has created a humbly named special mobile keyboard called Meet that uses a similar multiple choice technique.
Google Keep and Invite aren't the kinds of high-profile services like mapping and e-mail that are major draws to a particular company. However, they're nicely designed, useful tools that appeal to iOS users who need to communicate and share with those on other platforms.