Microsoft announced today that it formally purchased Sunrise, a calendar app for both iOS and Android. The acquisition follows closely on Microsoft’s buy of the email program Acompli, another well-regarded app that the company promptly rebranded as the new mobile version of its workhorse Outlook email program.
In other words, Microsoft’s new strategy to buy its way back into mobile contention remains in full swing.
Sunrise is notable mostly because it synchronizes easily with a variety of different calendar services, including Google Calendar, iCloud, Exchange, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It lets users switch between a regular calendar view and an appointment-focused agenda view, and pulls in relevant data for friends and contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Sunrise has won plaudits for this as well as its simple and comprehensive appointment scheduling. Critics rave about how intuitive it is to use, and its shortcomings have been relatively minor; the New York Times said the color scheme was bland, and CNET bemoaned the lack of a search function.
Sunrise co-founder Pierre Valade said in an interview with Microsoft that calendars as an app category were “often underestimated.” Sunrise’s primary goals in the beginning were to increase calendar synchronization with other apps, do it faster, and better support scheduling across multiple timezones.
Founded in 2013, Sunrise has been and will remain a free app. The New York-based company had raised $8.2 million in three rounds of funding, though it’s come a long way; TechCrunch reports that the acquisition cost Microsoft over $100 million. Just two months ago, Microsoft spent a reported $200 million for Acompli.
Photo by Robbie Shade