Question: which tech giant owns and operates the best email and calendar apps on iOS?
Answer: It’s not Apple or Google. It’s Microsoft. Yes, that Microsoft, the one that for so many years has been the embarrassing uncle at tech’s top table.
AKA the company that everyone feels an overriding obligation towards, but wants to spend as little time with as possible.
The Big M’s acquisition of Sunrise Calendar was greeted with caution among tech watchers, but the app remains peerless and is the very best way to plan your schedule on a smartphone.
Microsoft's superb Sunrise Meet keyboard lets you fix meeting times within an email client, rather than having to open the calendar app and flick between the two.
Its Outlook app, a rebrand of the superb Acompli, which it picked up last year, is unquestionably the iPhone’s best email client.
It has superb built–in calendar access, breezy attachment tools and is well organised into ‘Focused’ and ‘Other’ tabs, meaning you don’t spend your day dealing with spam.
To those two you can now add Wunderlist. The German company behind the to–do list tool, 6wunderkinder, was snapped up by Microsoft in a deal thought to be worth up to £130 million.
Wunderlist has become iOS and Android’s easiest to–do app, with business and pro versions that make collaborating easy.
It’s no surprise that Microsoft wanted part of it. The idea of it tallying neatly with Sunrise and Outlook will have productivity geeks salivating.
What is perhaps surprising to the casual observer, though, is how keen Wunderlist was to sign up with Microsoft.
On the app’s blog, founder Christian Reber wrote:“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.”
That could surely be said of Google, Apple or Facebook.
But Microsoft seems happy to allow its new apps to be platform-agnostic, something that's essential for success in the modern mobile space. Would those other companies allow such freedom?
It seems strange to think of Microsoft is being innovative in its acquisitions. But that’s exactly what this latest purchase represents.
The arrival of Windows 10 and universal apps points towards a bright future, especially as Microsoft is openly offering tools to make moving apps to Windows from iOS and Android easier than ever.
Wunderlist looks set to play a key role in the platform’s development.
Yes, some tech fans may be down on this news. But if Sunrise and Acompli show anything, it’s that joining Microsoft doesn’t mean becoming irrelevant.