As had been rumored last week, Microsoft has officially purchased Sunrise Atelier, a startup that makes a popular calendar app for basically every major mobile OS except Windows. No price was announced, but last week TechCrunch reported it was “north of” $100 million. Like Microsoft’s purchase of Acompli, which later became the email component of the official Outlook app for iOS and Android, Sunrise is expected to be integrated into Microsoft’s own Exchange-based mobile apps. Sunrise is promising that its calendar app will “remain free and available” for iOS, Android, Mac as well as through a web app.
Microsoft may (or may not) be planning to purchase Sunrise, but that doesn’t mean the calendaring app can’t receive updates in the meantime. On Thursday, Sunrise updated the Android version of the app, adding tablet support, more built-in “interesting calendars” for events like sports schedules or international holidays, and support for pulling in event data from Google Tasks and Eventbrite. Grab it now — if Microsoft does end up buying the company, this could be the last major update for the beloved calendar app under the name “Sunrise.”
Microsoft’s been buying up mobile app startups recently to go along with CEO Satya Nadella’s “mobile-first, mobile everywhere” mantra, and its latest purchase is calendar maker Sunrise for “north of $100 million,” according to TechCrunch.
Sunrise is a delightful calendar app to use, and it integrates with Google Calendar, iCloud, and Microsoft Exchange as well as apps like Evernote, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Github to fill out events with more information than other calendar apps. One of Sunrise’s main strengths is that it’s available on many platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, and Chrome. Given Microsoft’s new cross-platform focus, it’s absolutely possible that those apps will continue to be developed, although I wouldn’t blame Sunrise users for being nervous.
In November, Microsoft bought email app Acompli for $200 million. It eventually became the core of a new Outlook app for iOS and Android, which has received rave reviews and strong downloads so far since its release last week. In the press release announcing that deal, Microsoft VP Rajesh Jha in charge of Outlook wrote, “Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more.”
Our Mark Crump wrote in his hands-on with Outlook for iOS that while the app “looks fantastic,” his “main complaints so far are limited to the calendar.” The calendar part of Outlook for mobile seems like an afterthought; it has a limited number of views, and it doesn’t even support a month view.
It would make sense that Microsoft has eyes to integrate Sunrise’s calendaring tools into Outlook in the same way it used Acompli to jumpstart the email side of the mobile app. Unfortunately, after Microsoft purchased it, Acompli was removed from both the Google Play and iOS app stores. Microsoft may be planning to sunset Sunrise, too.
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