back to article Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole

Three months after its former CEO pleaded with Microsoft to sell him back Wunderlist, the software giant has confirmed the worst: it really is killing the popular to-do app. On May 6, 2020, Microsoft will pull the plug on the app that it paid somewhere between $100m and $200m for in 2015. In its place, it is encouraging …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Enfold, Extend....

    You know the rest.

    Or as MS see the situation.

    "You took the cash, handed over the IP and the customer base now f**k off and stop bothering us. We've got new prey to monetise."

    1. sum_of_squares
      Devil

      Re: Enfold, Extend....

      I came here to post this.

      Microsoft will never change and I can only imagine what this means for Linux and GitHub. "Microsoft loves Linux" my arse.

      1. oiseau Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Enfold, Extend....

        "Microsoft loves Linux"

        The writing has been on the wall for the longest time now.

        And unless the Linux ecosystem reacts and takes the appropiate steps asap, in the near future the headlines will read thus:

        "Microsoft screws Linux"

        O.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Microsoft loves Linux"

        It does... in a infatuated and stalker way:

        1) First it tried to deny its love, by calling it ugly and useless (circa 2000)

        2) Has tried scaring away other potential "suitors" with law suits etc (Circa 2005)

        3) Then it tried professing its love for it, and showering it with its new "Linux subsystem" (Circa 2012)

        4) Now its trying to own it, by buying all the places it hangs out (Github etc) (Today)

        All very creepy!

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The Age of the Customer is over

    We are now in the Age of the Company, which decides what the customer wants and monetizes the customer's private details for maximum revenue.

    It is insane to kill off an app that people actually like using. Of course, from Microsoft's point of view, it's obviously insane to keep updating an app that can - gasp - actually work with non-Microsoft platforms.

    Get with the program, Microsoft. The future is about Cloud, not platform.

    1. yoganmahew

      Re: The Age of the Customer is over

      Cloud is the new platform, and it's worser than platform ever was :(

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: The Age of the Customer is over

      At my age memory isn't that reliable, but a long time ago didn't Outlook used to have a decent ToDo feature which integrated with mail and calendar and could be shared with other users via email?

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Flame

        Re: The Age of the Customer is over

        Most decent features in Outlook have either been removed, made buggy, or simply mangled with so much dodgy and confusing UI that it looks like a cat has vomited on your monitor.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: The Age of the Customer is over

        Yes, but they "enhanced" it, and now it doesn't work so well. Recurring tasks, where you want it to remind you to do something every month or every year, are a particular problem.

      3. ThatOne Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The Age of the Customer is over

        Microsoft has arrived at that point in a relation where it doesn't give a s**t anymore.

        Years ago it used to shower us with flowers, invite us to fancy restaurants and generally try to be on its top game, but that's now long past. Now it's just sitting in dirty underwear on the couch, in the middle of a pile of empty beer cans, and when it opens its mouth it's only to be disparaging and hurtful (or to burp).

        It just doesn't care anymore, it takes customers for granted, because indeed, most of them are.

        Removal of features and generally less user-friendliness (unwanted features, think "ribbon") started around WinXP times, and hasn't slowed since. And yet, here they are, still making boatloads of money, so why worry?

    3. elgarak1

      Re: The Age of the Customer is over

      It's not new. That's how Microsoft always operated. Look up "Embrace and Extend".

      Back in the 90's, there was a series of trade shows where many start-ups (the moniker didn't exist yet, but that's what they were) would present some amazing new software. By the end of the trade show, one of two things happened: 1) Microsoft announced that they were working on their own version which would work with Office (meaning, the announced start-up would NOT); 2) the start-up (or at least their software) was bought up by Microsoft. Later iterations of this would have start-ups banking on (2) to make money.

      Invariably, the software either vanished, or came to public a few months later as a pale zombie shadow of the original presentation that never worked very well. Many hopeful and amazing advances in technology, in particular for word processing and writing, were killed or set back for DECADES by this, and came only to users when the Microsoft monopoly was broken by mobile devices.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The Age of the Customer is over

        "Back in the 90's, there was a series of trade shows where many start-ups (the moniker didn't exist yet, but that's what they were)"

        The term "start-up" in this context was in use in the proto-SillyConValley in the early 1970s. According to my Big Dic[0], Forbes magazine popularized it in 1976.

        [0] OED, second dead tree edition.

  3. Evil_Goblin

    Balls, I went to Wunderlist after Todoist became Web 4.0, with horrendous re-styling and adding rubbish features like kudos, rather than fixing broken functionality.

    Now Wunderlist is going, any suggestions for an alternative? I don't mind paying for a pro version if it genuinely works.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Same here. Wunderlist was almost OK, but the inability to have a single list of ToDos in date/priority order irrespective of category was a dealbreaker for me and they weren't interested in changing it.

      I use Apigo ToDo - but a very old version (which I paid for) which syncs devices and a Mac app over iCloud or DropBox. The only free version at the moment is standalone. The current paid for version (monthly sub.) syncs across Mac devices via Apigo's own cloud - don't know about Android or Windows. It's a great GTD with lists, dates, sub-tasks, tags, context, etc. and the latest pro-version might have sharing with others.

      The downside is that Apigo are not very customer focused. They recently pushed an "update' to the iPhone which removed iCloud/DropBox synch and forced users onto their own cloud with a monthly subscription for synching between iDevices and Mac - which is a shitty thing to do IMO given that I'd already paid for the apps I use. When I complained they, effectively, told me to fuck off. Luckily I've kept the older app version so I installed it and now have to remember not to "update all" on iDevices. So, caveat emptor.

      This behaviour prompted me to look for something better, but if you want desktop app and synch then i didn't find much out there that don't charge monthly subs - which I'm not really willing to pay. There are a few that work with ToDoist - although that needs a sub to unlock all features - but I suspect that if I ever upgrade from El Cap. then I'll be buggered - in which case I'll find a way of making Reminders work.

    2. Al fazed
      Happy

      Hmmmm

      pen and paper still works for me

      1. trevorde Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm

        yeah - but does it work offline without an internet connection or a Microsoft account?

    3. sum_of_squares

      Kanban boards FTW

      After a lot of disappointments with todo-lists I recently switched to kanban boards. The visuals are somewhat different but you get used to it pretty fast, it's easy to use and I never looked back.

      Popular programs are Asana, Trello, ClickUp or Yalla.

      1. Law

        Re: Kanban boards FTW

        Love Trello - but they're now owned by Atlassian so I expect the quality to go down soon enough.

    4. Twanky
      Thumb Up

      Wunderlist... suggestions for an alternative?

      Nextcloud with the Tasks CalDAV app. I use DAVx5 and 'Tasks' by Marten Gajda on Android and the 'Tasks' plugin for Thunderbird on Linux. I guess that other CalDAV apps are available for Windows or Apple systems. Works for me. YMMV.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Wunderlist... suggestions for an alternative?

        Thanks for that suggestion, especially as NextCloud is the next server I'm bringing online.

        1. Twanky

          Re: Wunderlist... suggestions for an alternative?

          I have not tried either of these options but...

          For those who dislike the idea of running their own Nextcloud server you can get a free cloud account (ie on someone else's computer) at https://nextcloud.com/signup/.

          For those who fear that running a server at home involves something of the size of WOPR or as weird as Hex occupying most of their living room there is guidance on running Nextcloud on a Raspberry PI at https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-nextcloud-server/

          Don't expect either option to scale to many users even though Nextcloud on 'proper' servers can support thousands.

    5. Phil Kingston

      It's very basic, but as a To Do list I use Google Tasks.

  4. jake Silver badge

    Too many words.

    "which is tightly integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem and, as a result, probably doesn’t work well."

    There, FIFY.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Too many words.

      Doubtless the "tight integration" is yet another unreliable kludge too. Immediate updates? Nah, updates will propagate when the various "integrated" make yet more copies of the same data. Badly.

  5. poohbear

    "new devices and operating systems" .... do tell.....

  6. Warm Braw Silver badge

    It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

    If that's true for Wunderlist, Windows is well overdue for the knacker's yard.

    I seem to be reading a lot these articles about Microsoft and Apple buying up relatively successful software products and then eviscerating them. I can't really see any logic to this - Microsoft isn't going to get any quantifiable revenue from a to-do list feature and if it could, it's not something they couldn't knock together of their own accord. It just seems to be hubris: if someone who's not a megacorporation has a successful product they have to be crushed to restore the balance of the universe.

    1. Spamfast

      Re: It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

      I seem to be reading a lot these articles about Microsoft and Apple buying up relatively successful software products and then eviscerating them.

      Remember when Visio was intuitive to use? That would be just before Microsoft started faffing with it.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

        >Remember when Visio was intuitive to use?

        Flight simulator

        Autoroute

        Money

        ...

        Naturally MS aren't the only company to pull the plug on successful products: Nuance and the Swype keyboard....

        1. Spamfast

          Re: It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

          Another one that particularly annoys me is Picasa.

          That was such a good product - the geo-tagging and face recognition interfaces were really easy to use even for non-techies.

          But because it could work entirely stand-alone Google axed it in favour of its crappy online ("let us look at all your personal photos") service.

          By the way, SWMBO keeps badgering me for something that works just as well on Windows 10 (and preferably online too but that's not crucial).

          Any suggestions, folks?

    2. whitepines
      Devil

      Re: It’s becoming more difficult to maintain as it ... ages

      I seem to be reading a lot these articles about Microsoft and Apple buying up relatively successful software products and then eviscerating them. I can't really see any logic to this

      Wouldn't want people getting too used to paying once for software that just works -- might make Microsoft look bad and people might start wondering what they're actually getting for their Office 300 / Windows 10 subscription fees. And at the same time show that non-Microsoft software just works and is the better value.

      Oh, did I say that out loud?

  7. The Central Scrutinizer

    I honestly still wonder why anyone touches anything even vaguely Microsoft related.

    1. OssianScotland

      Only as a stepping stone to installing a third party product

    2. grizewald

      As a consumer, I don't use any Microsoft products.

      As a programmer, I am forced to use Microsoft products by the fact that my employer mandates the use of Microsoft's operating systems and technologies.

      In the old days, the saying was "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.". Now it's "Nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft.".

      Seeing as how Windows 10 and Microsoft's cloud services can hardly be deemed compliant with the GDPR, I'm still wondering why some people haven't yet been fired for choosing Microsoft.

  8. Spasticus Autisticus
    Mushroom

    Qunts - absolute and unredeemable qunts.

  9. aregross

    Cough-FoxPro-cough

  10. fnusnu

    Todo works fine on Windows, Android, and iPadOS.

  11. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Can't the original author just resurect it?

    Under a new name, obviously. And he'd have to re-code it or obfuscate the source code that he already has. Or accidentally leak it onto the internet so someone else who won't have MS breathing down the necks (or don't care, even if they do) can keep it going

    1. whitepines

      Re: Can't the original author just resurect it?

      Microsoft's (in)famous legal team wouldn't have made it that simple -- there's likely a no-compete clause or similar in the contract.

  12. TVU

    Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist

    I think that the moral of this tale is that if you sell your beloved software to a large corporation in return for a shed load of coins, then you must be prepared to accept that your treasured project will at some future stage be axed or abandoned. This has happened so many times.

    In Christian Reber's case, probably the best thing he could do now is to develop an open source, cross platform alternative to Wunderlist.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist

      You may find when he flogged it for a huge sum of money, a non-compete clause was in the contract.

      I don't blame him for selling for so much money, but then don't come crying that you don't like what they have done with it.

    2. Notas Badoff

      Re: Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist

      I guess this is the only 'good' part of watching your baby get borked over the years. After a few years of neglect by Microsoft, you are surely past the end date of any non-compete agreements. In fact, it would be strange if the creator doesn't already have an OS spec/plan to execute on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist

        AIUI Wunderlist was based on AWS, and Microsoft wanted it transitioned to Azure, which for whatever reasons the Wunderlist team failed to do.

        So from Microsoft's perspective it is to either keep Wunderlist on AWS or ditch it and move on to Azure with another tool. I'm actually suprised they let this go on for so long on AWS.

        It isn't surprising they chose the latter, as for the new leadership Azure underpins the company's strategy.

        The guy sold it. He or his VCs wanted the money. This is no embrace, extinguish. This is a bad purchase you're binning. Do not forget that the same team wrote To-Do. Either they don;t know how to do it or they don;t want to do it as Wunderlist. The same guy is responsible for To-Do so I don;t get it.

        Microsoft might still wish to intergrate Wunderlist features into To-Do with another team and so cannot sell it back.

        Before declaring the villain we'd need to hear both sides. Microsoft's leadership is different and in this instance there is no competitive advantage so all the rapid foaming here is unfounded.

  13. Willie T

    "Microsoft wants to be Google and Apple"

    You realize that on the consumer side Google & Apple have been eating Microsoft's lunch with integrated and locked down ecosystems? The Windows Store is the response to the Apple Store. Your Microsoft Account is so you can sync data across all apps - just like your Google Account. Of course it is going to be integrated into everything else Microsoft, that is the power of an ecosystem. And if it doesn't also have hooks into open standards and support use with competing platforms it will die. This is reality today whether you get your app from Apple, Google or Microsoft. And that independent app you love will get bought out by one of them if gets too popular and they can't code a better version. Welcome to 2019!

  14. Efer Brick

    to do

    "Sell Wunderlist back" Delete

  15. Adrian Midgley 1

    FLOSS

    then...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Do doesn't even work nice with Outlook

    arguably, this is a long-standing MS tradition, wasn't it MS which told people to move to gmail and such because MS new (and crappier than before) "Live-Mail-pseudo-lookalike-W10-baked-appearance-of-a-mail-client-thingy wouldn't work with hotmail (or the other way round).

  17. BGatez

    Anyone recall Creature House Expression?

    Very cool vector software, bought by MS, rebranded Microsoft Expression and left to wither. Or TruSpace, an inexpensive yet useful 3D software, again bought by MS and promptly killed.

  18. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Linux

    A Criminal's M.O.

    The Dog Returns to It's Vomit.

  19. The Central Scrutinizer

    There is a traditional old solution....

    But Im guessing not too many people are interested in using org mode in Emacs. It's fecking awesome.

    There is MobileOrg, although I haven't tried it.

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