back to article My God, I've got nothing on! Microsoft's $200m Wunderlist is down

Mobile to-do list Wunderlist, bought by Microsoft for a reported $100m-$200m, is down with no immediate prospect of recovery. The firm claims to have more than 13 million users and has blamed problems with synchronization and task creation on all platforms. The service, when it works, runs on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    Why do you keep a to-do list of any import on a third-party outside service?

    Cloud computing strikes again.

    And even 13m people's to-do list? Couldn't you keep that in something the size of a 386's original hard drive? Why does it need huge databases that take days to resync?

    1. Dr Who

      Normally, I groan when faced with yet another "cloud computing strikes again" type comment, but in this case I'm absolutely in agreement. A todo list is fine on a piece of paper, stuffed in my back pocket. We're not talking project scheduling here, it's just a list. I've just checked and there are dozens of shopping list apps out there too which is unbelievable. Paper, back pocket, HB pencil, job done.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        I have to admit - I *do* use Google Keep. Mostly because it didn't require yet-another-account, and somewhat because my workplace uses Google Apps anyway so it fits nicely.

        It's a little to-do list app that runs on anything, stores my notes, and works when offline (provided you're synced as much as you need, of course). It does lists, text, video, even audio and doodles.

        But it's by no means a critical service. It is, quite literally, my shopping lists / doodle app. Oh, must remember the bread.

        So I wouldn't care if the online service went down.

        The app would probably work anyway, even if I have to use it "unsynched".

        And I wouldn't lose anything critical.

        Quite why that makes them a $200m business, I can't fathom. That's over $10 per user. Have they paid that?

        Just use Google Keep. It's only a shopping list, who cares about it to that point?

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Just use Google Keep.

          Madness to use anything Google that has a private alternative. I only use Google services I absolutely need where there is no alternative.

          I can't decide if Facebook or Google are worse, though there is the choice to never use Facebook, unfortunately people one knows use it and post private info about one and one's conversations etc on it.

          1. hplasm

            Re: Just use Google Keep.

            " about one and one's conversations etc on it."

            Is that the Posh Rastafarian Facebook page?

          2. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: Just use Google Keep.

            @Mage: Because you think a Microsoft-owned cloud-based post-it note company worth $200m with a massive datacentre and only 13m unpaying users is something that isn't "invading your privacy" in the same way to get that money?

            Google can see every note I ever store on it. I hereby give them permission. I did when I created my account. My lists include a doodle of a VESA fitting for a screen (that looks more phallic than anything else), a list of which wire goes to what on a cheap Chinese gate opener I bought that only had an Engrish manual, a list of lightbulbs in my house, and last week's shopping (that I handed over a Clubcard for because it saves me £10 each week and tracks 100 times more data, but again if someone in Tesco knows I bought a tomato last week, it's not really "data they couldn't have got any other way" to give them your ClubCard).

            Rather than be anti-company, be sensible with your data. Don't put ANYTHING on ANY cloud service providers services without knowing those people can see it. And if you're that paranoid, use OwnCloud/NextCloud on your own hardware (that has a "Tasks" thing, I think).

            Hint: My Google+ profile is empty. For a reason. But I'm not in anywhere near the same level of paranoia as you appear to be.

      2. K

        If your planning a weekend trip, sure a fag packet is good..

        But recently I said thank f*ck for Wunderlist, after relocating to the London, it allowed me and my partner to organise/split the work of

        • Selling of my property in Hampshire
        • Selling of her property in Surry
        • Purchasing a new family home
        • Get everything ready for the kids to go back to school

        Whilst keeping track of it all from our phones, whilst she was in Spain and I was in London..

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Spain & London with two phones.

          Even email would do that. I've had email on my phone, without even using a web page, since 2002.

          Or SMS!

      3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        A shopping list app is useful. I use one that can scan product bar codes to add items to list, and also manage coupons.

        Also potentially useful would be to add again automatically previous purchases that are calculated to be either consumed or expired. For instance when to buy the new TV guide magazine - which I still do.

    2. hplasm


      13 million people don't know what to do!

    3. ChrisB1

      The data is on my laptop: I have not lost it - I am still using Wunderlist and adding tasks even though the server is down. (What it's not doing is synchronising to all my devices and backing up new data on the servers). I like an electronic todolist that I don't have to keep re-writing as tasks get done, and I like it on my phone when I'm out and about.

  2. hplasm

    Quotation without content...

    “Commitment to delivering market leading mobile apps across the platforms and devices our customers use..."

    Delivering them to where? /dev/null?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Quotation without content...

      Or the bit bucket.

  3. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    That migration to SQL Server's working really well then...

    "We're Microsoft, we eat our own dog food".

    Great. If I want an RDBMS, I'd prefer the caviar one rather than one that the company's own employees openly refer to as "dog food".

    1. Mike Shepherd

      Re: That migration to SQL Server's working really well then...

      I don't know why, but in the country where this expression originated, there is presumably some appeal in the notion of eating dog food. It doesn't export well.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Well -

        I think it is meant to mean "Our product is good enough for us to choose to eat it ourselves - yes it is dog food but even so."

        Also, poor and/or elderly people are rumoured to buy canned dog food in the supermarket because it's cheaper than food advertised for human consumption. This is not a good idea, because it really may not be made to the same quality standard. It may e not actually cheaper anyway.

        But to Wunderwhat / Wunderwhen : if they didn't use a Microsoft cloud and database now then you would think that there was something wrong with those.

        Oh look - there is something wrong with those.

    2. Steve Foster

      Re: That migration to SQL Server's working really well then...

      Since it's Tasks, the backend they're migrating to will be Exchange (Office365)...

  4. x 7

    Never heard of it. Can't be important.

  5. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Black Helicopters

    Quote: At the time Microsoft reckoned the deal demonstrated its: “Commitment to delivering market leading mobile apps across the platforms and devices our customers use"

    By simply exterminating the competition so the only choice people have ?

    I see that's working out pretty well :D

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      exterminating the competition?

      Well, it's going to take an awful lot of effort to eradicate paper and pencils globally.

  6. gv

    First Item on To Do List

    - Use a better database.

  7. Sureo


    What's wrong with a pencil and a piece of notepaper? The real estate agents leave a notepad at the door almost every day.

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Cloud computing. Somebody else's computer, in reality. And subject to the whims of a group of people who may or may not be paid properly. .

    Naaaah, I'll rather take my chances with a pencil and paper.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pencil and paper?

    Pencil and paper? But... what happens if you lose the paper, where is the backup? Or your pencil breaks and you have no sharpener and all the shops are shut? Or your back pocket is already full of tissues, coins, phone, keys and other detritus and there isn't space for your paper list? Or you confuse it with someone else's paper list after leaving it on a desk or worktop somewhere? Or your handwriting is shite? Or you've needed to use it to blow your nose in an emergency? Or you want to attach the *other* page of notes about a to-do to your to-do and don't have a stapler? Or you've left it at home? Or the piece of paper has run out of space because your list is too big and you can't write smaller because you have wobbly eyes (and handwriting, again)? Or that you run out of paper and bog roll keeps breaking? Or... well, you get the idea. Nothing is perfect. Life is always a balance of risk vs reward, and everyone's thresholds (or levels of common sense) are different...

    A/C 'because'.

  10. K-Lye

    Good old analog?

    Maybe some people have lots of things to remember? Maybe some people would rather not be hunting around for that bit of paper with the DIY items on it that accidentally ended up in the washing machine? Maybe some people actually write down what to buy their spouses for their Birthdays in advance of the actual day? Maybe some people like being ultra-organised or for personal reasons lack the capacity to manage their lives without some form of tool? I mean really.. pencil & paper? Why not a chisel and stone tablets? At least they wouldn't get lost..

    There are so many sensible reasons millions of people use Todo/Tasklist software. The point being overlooked is that cloud solutions are "supposed" to resilient or in the case they fail, recover relatively quickly. Having a complete outage affecting that many customers for 36 hours is a pretty spectacular fail by any accounts.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Good old analog?

      "There are so many sensible reasons millions of people use Todo/Tasklist software."

      Really? Many? I can only think of one, but it is a corker.

      The phone is right there, in my pocket. Whip it out, tap notepad*, make the note, job done.

      *that's "notepad", not Notepad™. Also, it doesn't sync, use the web, or anything "cutting edge". It just let's me make notes, on my phone, Which I always have with me.

      1. mike_ackee

        Re: Good old analog?

        And if your phone is stolen, lost, broken or just forgotten? What then? Given that a phone is a small portable device, reliance on it is far worse than trusting the cloud to remember things for you.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "runs on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Android, Windows and browser."

    But MS are just getting warmed.

    They'll soon cut that list down.

    T'was ever and so.

  12. rd232


    I must admit to keeping a contact list on Wunderlist, and one of my contacts is named Bobby; Drop Tables.

  13. Mikel

    Shades of Sidekick

    The data loss disaster reminds me of Sidekick.

    Where is Roz Ho?

    1. x 7

      Re: Shades of Sidekick

      "Where is Roz Ho?"

      theres a Romanian ho' called Roz in Manchester city centre. Is that who you meant?

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    That "Middle E"

    Maybe Microsoft are thinking...

    What purpose does it serve?

    Why not just move straight from Embrace to Extinguish?

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. gregthecanuck

    Looks like Wunderlist's database...

    ... acquired a case of wanderlust.

  17. ecofeco Silver badge


    Never heard of it.

    But it's down you say? How can this be? The cloud is perfectly safe, reliable and cheap!

    Oh wait...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud is not always terrible

    A lot of the above is quite reasonable, but I've been using the venerable Remember The Milk for many years now, which has had no downtime I can remember. It's has a yearly fee, which is a small price to pay for something bulletproof. I want a cloudy solution because I want it to sychronise between different devices and have a shared list with co-workers and the Mrs.

    The problem here, as ever, is micros~1

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