(If you ask me, Sunrise is the best calendar app. No wonder why it made Tech Insider’s list of the best apps in the world.)
But Sunrise’s death is imminent. In a few months, its features will be rolled into the mobile version of Outlook, which, by the way, is an incredible app.
Outlook already has a “calendar” tab that syncs with Google, your work calendar, and other popular services. Eventually, the plan is to bake all of Sunrise’s features into that tab.
So, what’s Microsoft’s rationale for killing such a beloved app, especially when there are probably many Sunrise users who would rather use another email app instead of Outlook?
I had a brief chat this week with Microsoft’s VP in charge of Outlook, Javier Soltero. Soltero told me that first of all, Microsoft won’t shut down Sunrise until it feels confident that it can import all of its features (and more) into the Outlook app. That could take months. After that, Sunrise fans can still use Outlook as a calendar-only app if they want to.
“We’re not going to do that until we feel the calendar in Outlook matches or even exceeds what’s already in Sunrise,” Soltero said.
But the philosophy behind the merging of the two apps goes deeper than that. Soltero said mobile email is where a lot of people already do their scheduling and planning. For example, it’s still the most common place you get requests for meetings, lunches, conferences, etc. that you need to add to your calendar. Having Sunrise baked into Outlook will make that a lot easier.
A lot of it also stems from the design that originally went into Acompli, the app Microsoft bought almost a year ago and turned into current Outlook app this year. When the Acompli team was building the app, they learned their users liked having everything from calendar to file management for attachments bundled together in one app. Now that both Sunrise and the Acompli team are at Microsoft, it makes sense to merge the two together.
Soltero also said merging the apps together will help Outlook scale even more than it has. (It’s already up to 30 million active users.) There may be plenty of great email and calendar apps out there, Soltero said, but none of them have the massive scale Outlook is going for. Merging with Sunrise will help with that goal.
By the way, Soltero said another beloved Microsoft productivity app called Wunderlist will remain separate from Outlook. Instead, Microsoft will likely find ways to have it sync with other services like Office.