Posts tagged with "Microsoft"

Microsoft Acquires Wunderlist

In a blog post, popular task management service Wunderlist has announced they've been acquired by Microsoft. Wunderlist, like Sunrise, will remain an “independent” app for now, but it'll likely be more closely tied to Microsoft services in the future.

Here's Wunderlist CEO Christian Reber on the company's blog:

Over the next few months as Wunderlist becomes a part of the Microsoft family, we’ll introduce a host of new features, continue growing the ecosystem of partner integrations and progress in delivering Wunderlist to billions of people. We are excited and can’t wait to share with you what we have been working on–watch this space!

The Microsoft blog has also motivated the acquisition and shared details about pricing going forward:

The addition of Wunderlist to the Microsoft product portfolio fits squarely with our ambition to reinvent productivity for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Building on momentum for Microsoft Office, OneNote and Skype for Business, as well as the recent Sunrise and Acompli acquisitions, it further demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to delivering market leading mobile apps across the platforms and devices our customers use – for mail, calendaring, messaging, notes and now tasks.

And:

Customers can expect the app to remain free in all of its existing markets. There will be no price changes for Wunderlist Pro or Wunderlist for Business customers and the service will continue to support a wide range of third-party apps and integrated services.

As I tweeted yesterday, I believe Microsoft has been doing some interesting acquisitions lately and Wunderlist meets the requirements for a cross-platform app that can integrate with other apps and services. Like Sunrise, Wunderlist has an API that allows other services and developers to plug into its platform to access a user's tasks and projects – like Slack and Scanbot. Wunderlist wanted to build an ecosystem of apps for your todo list, and it's easy to see how Microsoft could benefit from it.

More importantly, Wunderlist already integrates with Sunrise, allowing you to see tasks alongside calendar events natively.

I'm curious to see for how long Microsoft will keep these two apps as standalone services that don't have the Microsoft brand or only work with Microsoft services. Sunrise, for instance, also supports Todoist, one of Wunderlist's biggest competitors. Will Microsoft keep this third-party friendly approach as it keeps controlling more apps?

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Microsoft Bringing Cortana to iPhone Later This Year

In a blog post today, Microsoft announced a 'Phone Companion' app built into Windows 10 (which is coming out this summer) to easily transfer content (like documents and photos) to Android and iOS devices.

They also revealed that Cortana, the company's voice assistant, will be released on iPhone “later this year”.

The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on your PC or on a Windows phone. You can have Cortana remind you to pick up milk the next time you’re at the grocery store, and then your phone will wake up and buzz with the reminder. You’ll be able to track a flight using Cortana on both your phone and your PC, and get the updates on the device that you’re on so you don’t miss anything. Everything in Cortana’s Notebook will show up across all your devices and any changes you make on one device will be reflected when you use Cortana on any of your other devices. The Cortana companion app will help you complete tasks you begin on your PC wherever you are, on your phone.

Microsoft already notes that, due to limitations on iOS and Android, they won't be able to port features such as launching apps and voice activation with “Hey Cortana”. Like other big companies, Microsoft has built a solid ecosystem of apps on the App Store, and it'll be interesting to see how limited Cortana will be as an iPhone app and how it'll compare to future versions of Siri and Google Now.

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No Ecosystem Is an Island: Google, Microsoft, Facebook & Adobe’s iOS Apps

Apple doesn't make a single Android or Windows Phone app, and makes barely anything for Windows. But Apple's reluctance to develop on other platforms hasn't stopped Google and Microsoft from bringing their own apps across to iOS. That shouldn't be any surprise at all, given the different business strategies the three take. But what might be surprising is the extent to which Google and Microsoft have committed to bringing apps to iPhone and iPad users.

You are no doubt aware of the big apps from Microsoft (Word, Outlook and Minecraft) and Google (Gmail, Maps, Calendar), but the reality is that these two companies alone have over 150 apps available on the iOS App Store today. For good measure, I've also taken a look at the iOS development efforts from Adobe and Facebook, which are also significant.

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Microsoft + iPhone

Just a few years ago, there was a sharp divide between fans of Microsoft and fans of the iPhone. But in this “mobile first, cloud first” world, it’s now possible to combine Apple’s iPhone hardware with Microsoft’s best-in-breed productivity apps and not feel terrible about yourself. Things really have changed, and for the better.

Paul Thurrot as a good rundown of Microsoft's apps for iOS. I remember a few years ago when it seemed unthinkable to have full Microsoft and Google ecosystems on iOS, and today not only is that completely normal – people expect Microsoft and Google to release their apps on the App Store. How things change.

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Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iOS Add Support for iCloud Drive

Microsoft today updated the iOS versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to include support for iCloud Drive. This means that iOS 8 users can now open, edit and save documents to iCloud Drive, making it even easier for users who want to share a document between multiple apps. To access the iCloud Drive pop-up window, simply tap the 'More' button in the Office app's open or save panel.

Today's addition of iCloud Drive support follows the partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox which saw the suite of iOS Office apps add support for Dropbox back in November last year.



Microsoft Acquires Sunrise

After a few weeks of speculation, Microsoft has confirmed they have acquired popular calendar app Sunrise, which will remain free and join the company's existing set of mobile apps.

Rajesh Jha writes on the Microsoft blog:

I’m pleased to announce that Microsoft has acquired Sunrise, provider of a next-generation calendar app for iOS and Android. We are making this acquisition because we believe a reinvention in the way people use calendars on mobile devices is long overdue. Our goal is to better help people manage and make the most of their time in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

This is another step forward on our journey to reinvent productivity and empower every person and organization to achieve more. Today’s acquisition of Sunrise, our recent acquisition of Acompli, and our new touch-optimized universal Office apps for Windows 10 all exemplify Microsoft’s ambition to rethink the productivity category. Our goal is to create more meaningful, beautiful experiences in mobile email and calendaring across all platforms. And as you will hear in the video below, the creative talent and fresh thinking at Sunrise and Acompli will make a lasting impact on the Microsoft family as we seek to reinvent productivity.

I'm a fan of Sunrise and I like what Microsoft has been doing lately. Yes, Microsoft hasn't built Acompli and Sunrise in the first place (and that's another problem), but at least they're spending money to acquire quality apps that can help them catch up in the mobile space. Outlook is well done (I'm using it every day; I love the Focused Inbox and calendar integration) and Sunrise is, in my opinion, the best multi-platform calendar app Microsoft could ask for.

I wrote about Sunrise last year, and I still use the app for two reasons: its elegant design and integration with external services. Sunrise is unique in its ability to show tasks from my Todoist account alongside calendar events; the same applies to Evernote reminders, upcoming Songkick concerts, and even Trello todos.

Sunrise shows me all the things I need to do in a single place, and Microsoft should keep this aspect intact.

It seems fair to assume that Microsoft will add more cloud integrations from their own ecosystem (OneNote, Exchange, perhaps Skype?), but I'm curious to see if and how Sunrise will work with Outlook, which comes with an embedded Calendar view.

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Microsoft Releases Outlook for iOS

Microsoft today released an iPhone and iPad version of Outlook, their well-known email app from the Office suite of productivity apps. The app is free and does not require a subscription to Office 365.

Outlook for iOS supports email accounts from Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail - but does not yet support custom IMAP accounts. Interestingly, the app also directly connects to online storage services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily attach and send files.

Outlook makes it simple to share files stored in the cloud. With just a few taps, you can insert a link to any file from OneDrive, Dropbox and other popular accounts in your email message. Recipients are automatically granted permission to view these files, with no extra steps.

Need to find a file quickly? No problem. Outlook provides a view of your recently received email attachments, so you don’t have to go searching through email to find that document you need. Outlook also lets you search across both your cloud storage and your email attachments at once, with Quick Filters to let you quickly sort by file type.

Be sure to read the full announcement blog post from the Microsoft Office team, they highlight a number of neat features that might convince you to try the app out. And if you're ready to try the app out, here's the direct link to Outlook on the App Store.
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