Microsoft Reportedly Buying Sunrise Calendar App for $100M

The tech giant reportedly is snagging another app startup as part of its push into mobile-enabled productivity.

Microsoft mobile apps

Microsoft is snapping up another mobile app maker.

After acquiring email app specialist Acompli on Dec. 1 for an undisclosed amount, reports are circulating that the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has set its sights on another startup. This time, it's New York City's Sunrise Atelier Inc., the company behind the free Sunrise Calendar app for the iOS and Android mobile operating systems.

Microsoft is paying an estimated $100 million for the company and its technology, according to a report in Bloomberg Business. "Support and distribution for Sunrise's mobile apps will continue for now," an insider told the business news outlet.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment, telling eWEEK that the company "has nothing to share regarding the acquisition rumors."

Sunrise Calendar is a user favorite, boasting a 4.5-star rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.3-star rating on Google Play. It sports a minimalist, color-coded user interface and is compatible with Exchange, Google Calendar and Apple iCloud.

The latest update (version 3.0) added Google Tasks and Eventbrite integration. "Create and edit Google tasks directly in your favorite calendar or buy a ticket on Eventbrite and it will appear in Sunrise with all the information you need to get there," states the application's listing on the Apple App Store.

The deal aligns with Microsoft's new "mobile-first," multi-platform approach to the software market. Last March, early into his tenure as the company's CEO, Satya Nadella launched the long-awaited Office for iPad apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), enabling Office 365 subscribers to view, create and edit Office files. (Non-subscribers could only view Office content, a decision the company reversed in November.)

Today, the software is available for iPhone, iPad along with Android tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft also appears to have learned some lessons in tailoring its software portfolio for the mobile era. "Microsoft's Outlook program, which was released in versions for Apple Inc.'s iOS and Google Inc.'s Android last week, has a built-in calendar," stated the report. "Yet many users want a separate app for that task, the [source] said."

Going the acquisition route sometimes makes more sense for the company, which is trailing behind Apple and Google in the mobile space. The source told Bloomberg that in its bid "to gain share on iOS and Android devices, the company has found it faster to acquire top apps than create them from scratch," stated the report.

If history is any guide, Sunrise may be quickly rolled into the mobile Office ecosystem.

Microsoft released Acompli-based Outlook apps for iOS and Android a week ago today and less than two months after the company announced that it had acquired the San Francisco-based company. "For our Acompli users, Outlook will be a familiar experience, as we're developing the apps from this code base. You will see us continue to rapidly update the Outlook app, delivering on the familiar Outlook experience our customers know and love," said Julia White, general manager of Microsoft Office Product Management team, in a Jan. 29 announcement.

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...