back to article What a To-Do! Microsoft snuffs out Wunderlist

If a week is a long time in politics, it must be an eternity at Redmond, where the strategy team is seemingly obliged to create a new one every few minutes. Here's another for you. On Wednesday Microsoft launched a new To-Do app, called er, "To-Do". If that sounds a curious move, it's because it is. Very. Microsoft also said …

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Pen & paper

Pen & paper works for me

Plenty of people use post it notes

For anything complex that requires proper accountability / audit trails I use software suites devoted to that type of task (pun intended) e.g. agile dev work, tend to use dedicated software that integrates with source code repository, change request system (e.g. JIRA), etc.

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Mushroom

Beyond "shot themselves in the foot."

Normally, when someone shoots themselves in the foot, they do it once. However, MS seems to have emptied the magazine, reloaded, and continued firing. Perhaps they will stop once there's no foot left to shoot at? Then, perhaps, start on the other one.

What MS's (I hesitate to use the word strategy since that involves actual thought) is, I can't fathom, except it appears to be as self-destructive as possible. You have to wonder how a company like MS, that really did produce some of the best (and certainly popular) software around has turned into the total insane asylum it appears to be nowadays.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Beyond "shot themselves in the foot."

I believe microsoft have rather large feet, may be why they keep putting them in things.

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"You have to wonder how a company like MS, that really did produce some of the best (and certainly popular) software around has turned into the total insane asylum it appears to be nowadays"

Easy : mountains and mountains of money that insulate MS from the cost of failure.

Any normal company that pours $200 million into something does so with the firm intent of recovering the cost and making money from the investment because its survival is at stake. Microsoft, on the other hand, has money coming in whatever happens, so the fact that it can afford to lose $200 million basically means it has no clear incentive to monetize said $200 million to survive.

Oh, of course, high-level managers are around implying that the investment had better bear fruit, but then they run off to pay attention to the next billion-dollar investment and everything is lost in the maelstrom of day-to-day business. Then, at some point later on, somebody stumbles on the file and takes a look, brings it to some high-level manglement's attention and gets told "eh, that thing ? Didn't you follow last week's management session ? It's out-of-date, no longer part of our new outlook. Get rid of it."

Because Microsoft can still afford to change outlook every week. Companies that fight for survival cannot - they have to stick to their guns because they can't afford new ones. Not until the investment has paid for itself, that is.

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Wunderlist being axed is a shame

I've been using it for a little over two years, and it's been a great app. My and my other half do our shopping using it. Add everything into Wunderlist, and when we get to the shop we each take separate sections and tick it off as we go. Halves the time it takes to do a shop. I wunder what Microsoft will do to recompense Pro users? I didn't pay for my subscription (it came free when I used the app in Germany, thanks Deutsche Telecom!) but I'm sure many did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wunderlist being axed is a shame

It is! I used it this past year on my iDevices. Wunderlist was a great find, and it worked on the iWatch, when the first party reminder/notes did not. Eventually my situation sorted and I went back to those recently, but it's too bad that they are being embraced/extinguished with a bit of extending into a different product of a similar class. But like the article states; how many list apps does one need? The answer is one, one that integrates/shares to the other devices in an unobtrusive, intuitive way. And it rarely surprises me. I don't need surprises, or adverts, or redirection of my attention away from the task at hand. But I digress, shopping with Wunderlist on the wrist was nice and easy, and no fumbling with other things while I'm picking out raspberries, or Raspberry Pis.

Also, don't you wipe off other peoples devices before using them? I do. Especially for kids. Those critters don't know how to keep a device clean. And the ladies, okay nice as they are, have you ever used a ladies phone after it's been in use? It's covered with makeup and who knows what else from the depths of the mysterious purse regions? I keep mine in a hermetically sealed, air tight, virus-proof container and then put that in a Ziploc bag filled with hand sanitizing gel, then place that inside a box with garlic to ward off vampires and perhaps werewolves. Some people even use the devices while on the toilet. I just. I mean. Holy cow! What the heck is going on?! Stop it!

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Facepalm

Microsoft's strategy these days seems to be to just bun stuff down while building new stuff somewhere else.

So while hardcore Wunderlist users mosey on somewhere else (Todoist, maybe), MS have probably lost a good set of paying customers there.

And as for Outlook's tasks being useful, that would require joined-up cross-department thinking. Microsoft's never been good at that. Internecine civil war, on the other hand, THAT is something it knows how to do...

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WTF?

SOP for Microsoft

Buy a useful thing

can it

come out with a half baked replacement

sit back and wonder why all the customers have gone elsewhere.

Well, that's one way to run a company into the ground eventually.

In the meantime, take footgun and send a barrage into feet.

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Windows

At least its called "To Do"

And not some hyper cool with it name like 2du that avoids correct spelling and essential vowels.

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Re: At least its called "To Do"

not some hyper cool with it name like 2du that avoids correct spelling

E.g., "Wunderlist?"

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"the only task management app built on an enterprise cloud..."

There is some truth in that, at least if you only consider Microsoft apps. If there's one thing Exchange/Outlook definitely ain't, "built for cloud" would be a fair description

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FAIL

Dear Microsoft

Stop pissing about with toytown apps. Some of us have work to do.

P.S. When can I have Exchange Tasks on Windows Phone.

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Facepalm

Re: Dear Microsoft

"toytown apps" indeed.

I wonder how long it would take me to develop something like that. 2 hours? 3?

maybe 5 minutes - a shared google doc plain-text file that you can invite others to be able to view and/or edit.

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Facepalm

This is rooted in 15 years+ ago

When I heard that the team leader meetings for XP development used an auditorium I knew the end was near.

Then docx and the Ribbon and "adaptive menus"* showed the plot was lost. Then Vista ditched all the good ideas in favour of direct 3D and Aero.

Windows 8.x? (Stupidity of Phone / Zune GUI for Desktop).

Windows 10. (So many levels of stupid).

It's no surprise. Look how they messed up Skype and confused people by renaming the unrelated pre-existing voice application "Skype for Business".

Or the debacle over ARM vs x86 surface / Windows.

Or wasting all the billions on buying nothing at all from Nokia.

Obviously Management is clueless.

[* What use are menus where the least used things vanish? Menus need to be unchanging and show every option, always, though grey out ones that can't currently be used in the app. This why on XP and later I disabled "hide task icons" and "personlised menus".]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is rooted in 15 years+ ago

When I heard that the team leader meetings for XP development used an auditorium I knew the end was near.

15 years isn't "near".

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Re: This is rooted in 15 years+ ago

Your are right, and that's when I moved to Linux: when I was force out of XP by non sense-Vista. So glad I did that!

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Anonymous Coward

Yet another Microsoft acquisition with its innards sucked dry, then discarded

Remember the Sunrise calendar app?

There are more examples but you get the idea.

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Actually, Outlook

I thought the ONLY reason to have the insecure Outlook application was MS Server integration with Scheduling/Calendar. Otherwise if you only want email, there are better, safer solutions for over 15 years.

Otherwise why would people buy Exchange Server and an MS OS to run it? I'm baffled that they don't have a fully Exchange/Sharepoint/Outlook client compatible with and syncing to desktop on iOS, Android, etc for years to support Exchange sales and maintain lock in to MS eco-system. Why on earth did they buy Wunderlist at all, unless to do a Fitbit - Pebble and kill it at once. Like Amazon did with Mobibooks.

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On Letting a Thousand Flowers Bloom

If you're going to let a thousand flowers bloom, you'd better be willing to weed the garden.

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ToDo

1) Take money from customers.

2) Fuck the customers.

3) Repeat from step 1.

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bed

Don’t conflate OneNote and Outlook Tasks

Outlooks Tasks/To-Do-List has never, ever, been developed to exploit its potential possibly because, if it did, it would eat into shared Project usage. That is no excuse however for not building some half-hearted functionality into the Outlook android app such as there is, in a limited fashion, in the Windows Phone Outlook app.

Offering OneNote as a substitute misses the point – of integration with calendars, alerts, rules and so on. It would be nice to think that OneNote (a much underappreciated application) might morph into a tasks substitute, provide shared tasks functionality, or fully integrate with Exchange Server, but that would be yet another strategy – so, fully expect such an announcement to arrive shortly – followed by development and abandonment.

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"We did recently compliment Microsoft for being almost coherent by having only two Slack rivals (Teams and Yammer), and not five. Or ten. At least compared to Google."

Well that's your mistake right there! Never hint they're doing anything different from Google. They'll drop everything else and race to look like they're doing the same!

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Devil

I got what I wanted in the end

What I wanted was an Outlook.com Tasks client for Android that would sync up with Windows 10. The only option on Android was the paid version of Blackberry Hub+, and NOTHING in Windows 10 (apart from desktop Outlook - oh you mean that for those without Outlook a note-taking app called OneNote was supposed to do tasks instead of the PIM suite? Really?)

Now get some integration going. When I write "call Geoff", show me a dropdown of all the Geoffs in my contacts and let me link one of them.

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Outlook tasks a victim of multi-version AD schema management complexity?

IIRC (and yes, I could be wrong)...the reason why tasks died a slow and painful death was that the Exchange user and configuration AD storage schema for tasks was very different from the Outlook schema for storing tasks locally. So, there was at minimum a translation layer. Because Exchange's property schema is in AD, every schema-change-requiring feature added to tasks by the Outlook client teams, forced the wholesale update of AD schema across all organizations. Well, add in the complexity of long transitions from one version of Outlook to another version within the org, where both Outlook (and thus task schema) must co-exist for months, if not years, and you end up with a nightmare in AD schema management. And of course, those wily end-users didn't have to fix it, they just had to complain to their IT teams that their tasks weren't working. Once the nightmare of schema management made it to the C-level, it was not uncommon for the edict to come out that there was no official support for tasks within the org, and they would not be stored in the main Exchange mailbox stores. Ouch! Others will know more precisely, but that's what it always seemed to come down to...oh, and having to document both the task file format in local PST/OSTs and the Exchange schema in AD became an ongoing evolutionary nightmare.

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Microsoft started dying after Windows 7. From then everything they touch turns into shit.

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Illogical

Why would you take a functional and popular app and aim to kill it by creating a new one copying some features from it, just so you can interact with your cloud service? Why not just add the cloud stuff to Wunderlist? Why not rename Wunderlist if they hate the name so much?

To-Do is a stupid name, as it is impossible to market as to-do is too generic.

They really seem to be losing the plot at MS.

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Re: Illogical

Microsoft apparently likes those bland, generic product names. MS Word, Windows, Office, Windows Phone, Surface.

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How did we ever get work done...

WTF is Yammer? My company moved us from something call Colab (an internal tool?) to Yammer, and I don't know WTF either of those things is/was. Yet somehow, I'm still able to do my job, amazing!

I'm looking at my Outlook task list right now (I have a dedicated Outlook monitor). All I see is a bunch of emails I marked as "follow up" and promptly forgot about. Do people actually use that thing for todo lists or tasking? My oldest "task" is just the first email I haven't archived yet.

Oh well, guess this just wasn't directed at me.

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Re: How did we ever get work done...

Yammer is a "social network for companies". If that doesn't make you run away screaming, you have probably something like "Product Evangelist" in your job title.

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