Microsoft Buys Calendar App Maker Sunrise Atelier

Microsoft has acquired Sunrise Atelier, a New York City-based startup company that makes calendar software for Android, iOS and Mac devices.

In an announcement, Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365, explained that Microsoft was adding Sunrise, along with its earlier Acompli acquisition, to bring "creative talent and fresh thinking" to Microsoft's productivity software for mobile devices.

Acompli produces e-mail solutions that were quickly folded into Microsoft's recently announced Outlook apps for Android and iOS devices after Microsoft announced Acompli the acquisition back in December. However, recent security and privacy concerns have been raised about using these new Acompli-based apps. Microsoft MVP Michel de Rooij offers an explanation about the potential security issues, as well as a couple of PowerShell scripts to block the use of the Acompli-based Outlook apps by users.

Sunrise makes a calendar app that pulls information from other applications and services. For instance, the Sunrise app can tap into a user's Facebook data for information about the user, which is partly used to improve the user experience, and it's also used to serve up ads, according to Sunrise's privacy policy.

Microsoft currently makes its Outlook e-mail and calendar application, which is typically sold with Microsoft Office or available as a Web app version. It also has a Windows Store App calendar app that comes with Windows 8/8.1, plus it has the calendar technology acquired by buying Acompli. So far, though, the company hasn't explained how Sunrise's calendar technology will fit into this overall productivity solution mix.

At present, the free Sunrise calendar app seems designed more for consumers than for business use. It will remain as a free app for Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac and "Desktop" users even as the Sunrise team joins Microsoft, according to a blog post by Sunrise's founders.

Microsoft's announcement, which described Sunrise as being downloaded by "millions of users," indicated that the Sunrise app will "continue to support a wide range of third-party apps and calendar services." More details about the integration of Sunrise into Microsoft's operations will come from the company "in the coming months."

An informal survey of Microsoft employees by Business Insider writer Matt Rosoff included the Sunrise and Acompli acquisitions as one indication of how Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella is responding to needs of its engineering teams.

News about the Sunrise acquisition leaked last week via a TechCrunch article, which had estimated the deal to be valued at more than $100 million. The terms of the deal weren't publicized by the companies, though.

Sunrise, which was founded by former designers from Foursquare, had started out in 2013 with $2.2 million in seed-money. It received $6 million in follow-up funding in 2014, according to its Web site. The company had employed between 11 and 50 employees.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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