Microsoft Is Pulling the Sunrise Calendar App

Sunrise, sunset. After porting much of its functionality to Outlook mobile, Microsoft is yanking the popular calendar app from app stores.

Microsoft pulls Sunrise calendar app

This summer, Sunrise users face a choice: switch to Outlook or look elsewhere for their mobile scheduling needs.

The popular calendar app for iOS and Android is shutting down on Wednesday, August 31st. Microsoft acquired Sunrise Atelier, the app's developer, last year in a deal reportedly worth $100 million.

The Sunrise team explained in a May 11 blog post that due to their involvement in developing the Outlook mobile apps, which inherited many of Sunrise's capabilities, they are no longer able to support the app. "No new features. No bug fixes. For us, that's the definition of a lousy app and it's not a user experience we want to leave you with," they wrote.

Over the next few days, Microsoft will be yanking the Sunrise app from the Apple App Store and Google Play. "On August 31st, we'll officially shut down the app and it will stop working all together," they added.

Sunrise is bidding farewell on a high note and it's understandable that Microsoft will want to pull the app before its quality suffers. The app garnered a 4.5-star average rating on Apple's App Store and a 4-star rating at Google Play.

It comes as no surprise that Microsoft is retiring the app. Last fall, the software giant signaled that the day would arrive. Javier Soltero, corporate vice president of Microsoft Outlook, noted that as Sunrise's features were ported to the Outlook mobile apps, "Outlook will eventually replace the current Sunrise app," in an Oct. 28, 2015 announcement. "We will leave Sunrise in market until its features are fully integrated into Outlook, the exact timing of which we will communicate in advance."

The timing on the app's shutdown suggests that Microsoft is satisfied that it has successfully carried the Sunrise feature set and user experience into Outlook. Incidentally, the current Outlook apps for iOS and Android hail from another acquisition.

In December 2014, Microsoft acquired Acompli for an undisclosed amount. Like Sunrise, business users flocked to the San Francisco-based startup's eponymous email app to help them manage their inboxes on the go. The app gained a following thanks to a "Focused Inbox" that surfaced important emails, a wide range of cloud integrations and a swipe-friendly interface, features that persist in Outlook mobile today.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been adding an increasing amount of capabilities to Outlook's feature set.

Earlier this year, it enabled Skype calling on Outlook, allowing users to natively schedule and organize Skype voice or video calls. The same update brought navigation improvements to Android and two new calendar views—a three-day view and a two-week mini calendar—to the iOS version.

Last month, the company switched on calendar syncing with Evernote, Facebook and Wunderlist. (Microsoft acquired Wunderlist last year.) After the apps are linked, setting reminders, activities and events in those apps will cause them to appear in Outlook's calendar. Microsoft is working on more app connectors, said the company.

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...