Microsoft Acquires Mobile Calendar App Maker Sunrise

It's official. The rumored buy is a done deal, pushing Microsoft deeper into the mobile app space.


Days after the first rumblings spread among tech industry watchers, Microsoft announced Feb. 11 that it has acquired Sunrise Atelier, the New York City-based maker of the popular and well-regarded Sunrise calendar app for iOS and Android.

The deal's financial terms were not disclosed, but earlier reports peg the transaction's value at around $100 million. In a statement, Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, said his company is "making this acquisition because we believe a reinvention in the way people use calendars on mobile devices is long overdue."

Sunrise CEO and co-founder Pierre Valade and co-founder Jeremy Le Van said in a separate Feb. 11 statement that "Sunrise and Microsoft share this vision to make your life a little easier by focusing on time, design, and building experiences that delight you everyday." The app Sunrise "will remain free and available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Desktop—we're not going anywhere," they said in a pledge reiterated by Microsoft's Jha.

The Sunrise calendar app has been lauded for its mobile-optimized, easy-to-use interface. Sunrise supports Microsoft Exchange, Google Calendar and Apple iCloud. "Our goal is to better help people manage and make the most of their time in a mobile-first, cloud-first world," a Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK in an emailed statement.

"Today's acquisition and the recent acquisition of Acompli exemplify Microsoft's ambition to rethink the productivity category—and create more meaningful, beautiful experiences in mobile email and calendaring across all platforms," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft acquired Acompli, the San Francisco-based company behind the business-focused email app (iOS and Android) of the same name, on Dec. 1, 2014. "We're excited about what's possible as we build on the app's success and bring it together with work currently in progress by the Outlook team," said Jha during the announcement.

Indeed, less than two months after the announcement, Microsoft released Outlook-branded mobile apps for iOS and Android based on Acompli's technology. "For our Acompli users, Outlook will be a familiar experience, as we're developing the apps from this code base," confirmed Julia White, general manager of the Microsoft Office Product Management team, in a Jan. 29 blog post. "You will see us continue to rapidly update the Outlook app, delivering on the familiar Outlook experience our customers know and love."

Microsoft is on a mission to "reinvent productivity," said Jha. Sunrise's technology will accelerate Microsoft's move into mobile calendaring solutions that work with the company's portfolio of increasingly interconnected Office software and cloud offerings, he teased.

"By connecting your calendar with a range of services, it provides a far better view of your day, week or month ahead. It acts in a helpful and automatic way, pulling relevant details from across your digital life," said Jha, echoing elements of the company's smart, cloud-enabled Office 365 platform. "It has a simple and beautiful design across devices for a reliable, consistent experience."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...