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Coming Soon: Order Starbucks from Microsoft Outlook

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is making Office smarter, allowing developers to create add-ons. The company took time at its Build 2016 conference to show this new feature off by using a very popular partner: Starbucks.

Starbucks’ chief technology officer, Gerri Martin-Flickinger, explained that 21 percent of its sales are completed through mobile payments, so the coffee seller’s extensions focused on both desktop and mobile add-ons. In Outlook, Martin-Flickinger used an upcoming extension to send a $100 gift card (she was feeling generous) to Microsoft’s Qi Liu from her desktop. Liu received the card on his phone via email. He had the option to Redeem Now, and was presented with an option to pay by phone. Martin-Flickinger suggested that this may be the future of rewarding employees for exceptional work.

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After that, she chose to hold a meeting at Starbucks. In Outlook, she clicked on the Starbucks option in the ribbon, picked a location, and filled in a date and time. When she sent the invite, other meeting members were given the option to order ahead with a deep link into the Starbucks app.

The Starbucks add-ons only skim the surface of potential use cases. While Starbucks hasn’t announced official plans, developers have been granted access to add-ons for Office for Mac, starting today.