The Berlin-based company behind the Wunderlist to-do app has been purchased by Microsoft. Redmond reportedly agreed to buy 6Wunderkinder GmbH for between $100 million and $200 million.
The deal was confirmed Tuesday on 6Wunderkinder’s blog by company founder and CEO Christian Reber. The purchase comes a little less than two months before the launch of Microsoft’s next-generation operating system, Windows 10.
The news also comes just a couple of weeks after Wunderlist announced an integration with Sunrise, the calendar app recently acquired by Microsoft. The tie-in allows users to sync to-do lists between apps.
Available for free on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Kindle Fire, and via the Internet, Wunderlist helps users plan, organize, and share lists of all kinds, along with due dates and reminders. Pro users can also collaborate with colleagues, friends, and family.
Wunderlist began about five years ago as a new twist on productivity software. Since then the app has grown to include more than 13 million users, who have collectively created more than 1 billion to-dos, according to the company.
And there’s more to come, according to Reber. "Joining Microsoft gives us access to a massive wealth of expertise, technology and people that a small company like us could only dream of amassing on its own," he said.
The purchase is a sign that Microsoft is strengthening its mobile portfolio. In December, it acquired e-mail app Acompli, followed by its purchase of the calendar app Sunrise in February. Accompli was subsequently relaunched as the new Outlook app for iPhone and Android. Acompli is targeted at e-mail, and Sunrise is for calendars, while Wunderlist will give Microsoft a to-do app.
Shoring Up Tasks
We reached out to Stowe Boyd, managing director of research and analyst firm workfutures.io, who told us the purchase will indeed bring Microsoft something it lacks, namely task management capability.
"Microsoft Project is a very heavyweight solution, geared toward large teams and complex project planning, and is not targeted to individual or small team use," said Stowe. "Although Project is integrated with Office as Project Online, it doesn't really solve the need for lighter weight task management, and is definitely not a 'mobile first, people first' product, which Wunderlist is, with very popular iOS and Android apps."
Reber said that nothing will change for Wunderlist users, at least not right away. He said that the company’s team in Berlin will continue to build and deliver Wunderlist, Wunderlist Pro and Wunderlist for Business across all the platforms in which it has worked before, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, Android, Windows Phone, Windows and the Web.
Reber said he will continue to lead the Wunderlist team and drive product strategy "because that’s what I love the most -- building great products that help individuals and businesses get stuff done in the simplest and most intuitive way possible."