Microsoft Tries To Win Mobile Friends

Microsoft's acquisition of German firm 6Wunderkinder this week for an undisclosed sum is part of its broader effort to win friends in the mobile world.

Looking for a new app for making "to-do" lists on your Apple or Android phone? You could use Apple's Reminders or Google's Keep. But Microsoft is hoping you'll try Wunderlist, created by a German tech startup that Microsoft bought this week.

Microsoft's acquisition of German firm 6Wunderkinder this week for an undisclosed sum is part of its broader effort to win friends in the mobile world. It is still promoting its Windows operating software for smartphones, but relatively few consumers are buying Windows phones. So the company is also building a stable of apps for devices that run on Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms.

That includes Android and iOS versions of Microsoft's Office programs, which the Redmond, Washington, company created in-house and released earlier this year. Then there's a mobile calendar called Sunrise, made by a company Microsoft bought in February. Microsoft Corp. also bought the startup behind an email app called Accompli, which — like Sunrise and Wunderlist — has won praise from tech reviewers for its clean design and useful features.

Microsoft has since rebranded the Accompli app as "Outlook" for mobile devices. But it's still offering the Sunrise calendar and Wunderlist apps under their original names, while planning to use some of their features in other services. All the apps have a free version. Microsoft hopes they'll eventually win people over to services that make money from subscriptions or ads.

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