One Year After Wunderlist’s Death, The To-Do Transition Limps Along

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Brad Sams in Microsoft Consumer Services with 33 Comments

If you had the ability to get in a time machine and went back to April 19th, 2017 and asked if Wunderlist would still be around today, the answer surely would have been ‘no’. Why? Because on this date, last year, the company said that the product was going away but here we are, with another botched communication by Microsoft.

In the post, the company acknowledges that To-Do would not exist without the fans of Wunderlist and that To-Do is the future for Wunderlist. Further, the company promises to keep adding new features to the application as well.

But, a year later, the application has struggled to gain momentum mostly because Microsoft has failed to push out updates on a regular cadence. It was just a few weeks ago that the app finally incorporated sub-tasks but they still have a long way to go to match functionality of Wunderlist.

Since the announcement of its death, we have been given some insight about why the To-Do replacement has failed to rapidly add the features of Wunderlist, primarily the fact that it was hosted on AWS and the port to Azure hasn’t been going well. The founder and CEO, who has now left Microsoft, explained earlier this year the issues with migration from Wunderlist to To-Do.

The project as it stands right now is in some sort of migration-hell that has essentially destroyed the fan-base for Wunderlist thanks to missed deadlines and with To-Do being half-baked; Microsoft has royally botched this acquisition and transition between platforms.

Microsoft has recently put the To-Do team under Joe Belfiore who can hopefully re-ignite some passion into this team and finally deliver the functionality that is needed to make it a true successor to Wunderlist. Until then, we don’t know how long Wunderlist will remain in the major app stores but as of today, you can still download the app.

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “One Year After Wunderlist’s Death, The To-Do Transition Limps Along”

  1. dcdevito

    Why is a to-do app so hard to implement. Apple's hasn't had any updates since forever, Microsoft is fumbling as you wrote, and Google doesn't even have one.

    • Ryan Dorrell

      In reply to dcdevito: Great question. Seems like a small team in 6 months can build a to-do app, even with all the complexities of building an app that would be used across the globe.

    • Polycrastinator

      Multi user sync seems to be a real problem for anyone. I've used so many grocery list apps and to-do apps which would lose items, fail to sync, lag behind.. that aspect seems to be a real challenge for whatever reason (I'm not a programmer, so I speak from a position of ignorance).

      • bleeman

        In reply to Polycrastinator:

        My wife and I have been using OneNote for our syncing. We share a common Notebook that has subfolders for Groceries, Movies We Want To See, Books We Want To Read, etc. It has been working very well for us for many years. We started it out back when we had Windows Phones and they have the "Private" share option where you could Text, OneNote, etc. just with each other, versus our "Public" shared items.

        • Bluesman57

          In reply to bleeman:

          Yes, OneNote can do all of the things talked about in these comments, and integrates tightly with Office 365 Outlook. The Android app is outstanding.

        • SvenJ

          In reply to bleeman: Same here, at least for shared lists, grocery and the like. Would need some calendaring functionality to replace things with that functionality, like Tasks and Wunderlist, etc.. They do a pretty good job of the sync functionality on OneNote, across my platforms and sharing with others. They do a good job with team functionality, collaboration task management in their O365 offerings. Would seem the problem here is motivation and executive interest.

      • IanYates82

        In reply to Polycrastinator:

        It's not really a hard problem, I promise :)

    • gregsedwards

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I think the issues were two-fold (maybe three-fold):

      1. Wunderlist was written on AWS, and porting the relevant bits over to Microsoft's cloud services proved harder than they expected.
      2. They want To-Do to have some deep integration with Office 365, so that it can sit in between Outlook, Planner, Teams, and Cortana.
      3. It's a really small team, and they haven't been given the resources needed to make it a priority.

      I'm hopeful that JoeB will light a fire and To-Do will get exponentially better fast.

  2. jaredthegeek

    Simple things like when I click on tasks on O365 Home I get sent to Outlook tasks. Microsoft is the worst at integrating their own services and software.

  3. tomstubbs

    Time to move on and I suggest giving a look at Nozbe. (Weird name, I know.) Nozbe -- works on all platforms -- has been a fantastic task management app for my law office. Its fantastic delegation functionality makes working with an assistant or another attorney truly easy. Easily forward emails to Nozbe and they become tasks, with the ability to assign the task to a person and associate the task with a project easily using #. When you assign a task, you can put a time limit on it so that the assignee comes to you at the end of that period to show their progress (or lack thereof) and does not waste hours chasing rabbits down the wrong rabbit hole. GTD weekly reviews are facilitated with the in-app calendar. You can use categories to group tasks according to the type (phone call, errand, research, drafting) and labels to group projects according to cases (add the "Smith" label to all projects related to the Smith case and you can easily pull up every project for that matter). There are lots of decent task management apps out there. I am a confessed philanderer of those programs. While some have one feature or another I like more, none has fit my office better that Nozbe. I suggest you give it a look.

  4. haunja

    The big killer for me is that you can not share lists between users. That one feature in Wunderlist is what keeps us on it.

  5. afenwal

    Wunderlist is still the only to do list integrated with Android Microsoft Launcher. That is the To Do list in the (swipe left) Feed has an option to sync with Wunderlist. You would think as a newish product the Launcher would talk to Microsoft To-Do not Wunderlist!?

  6. jimchamplin

    There was a Wunderlist UWP app.

    How hard is it to change the graphics and words in it to “Microsoft To-Do” and make that an update?

  7. BMcDonald

    It was one year ago today that I uninstalled Wunderlist and moved everything over to ToDoist. Best move I ever made.

    No amount of hype will get me into "To-do" or whatever MS is unable to code.

    Typical MS tho - they really have zero skill in delivering anything. They had a nice fan base out there too.

  8. harmjr

    This must really mean there is a big gap from AWS to Azure if Microsoft cannot easily port an app like Wunderlist over. I am no app developer but boy that must mean you must choose wisely and then I guess you are stuck with that choice or rebuilding from the ground up.

    MS should have keep To-Do under wraps or at least not announced Wunderlist retirement so quickly.

    • webdev511

      In reply to harmjr:

      Well the transition of Acompli to Outlook Mobile from AWS to Azure wasn't exactly quick either. I'm not a developer, but porting from cloud hosts, plus app plats & back end dbs, sounds "easy" but obviously isn't. It creates more work than we probably think.

      One kind of has to question releasing the unbaked to-do if the likely result was going to be "Yeah, not interested AT all." Better to keep things under wraps until you've got at least the framework of a challenger ready. If users can't even see the potential, then you probably made a mistake.

  9. bpech

    On a happy note, the former paid "Pro" features of Wunderlist are available to everyone now at no cost.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to bpech:

      Oh, I didn't realise. Maybe I've been using the pro side without knowing? In any case, that's good to hear.

      I'm still on Wunderlist since I don't see a reason to switch. I've got my wife and kids using it with some shared lists - handy for the occasional shared travel, shopping list, etc. That's a lot of inertia and there's no reason, yet, to move off the product.

    • Igor Engelen

      In reply to bpech: thx for mentioning, I always liked some of the pro backgrounds but thought it was a bit silly to pay for them.

  10. robinwilson16

    They should use a To-Do app to keep on top of the features that are still waiting to be implemented so they don't forget about them!

  11. James Wilson

    That reminds me! I moved from Apple Reminders to Wunderlist when I moved from an iPhone 4 to Windows Phone 8.1. Now, all this time later, I've had to move back, so I need to move all my Reminders back to the Reminders App on the Mac.

    I've done the same with O365 fo Business - now on Gsuite as it's much simpler for a small business.

    I'm thinking about doing it for O365 for family now. It's good that I get 5 people in the household and each one gets OneDrive storage, and Office... I'll have to think about that one.

  12. RobCannon

    Why even try to migrate Wunderlist from AWS to Azure? If Wunderlist is going to eventually be retired in favor of ToDo, they should have just worked on getting ToDo to be a full Wunderlist replacement ASAP.

  13. Jøran Nohr

    Business AS usal ... everything MS does container wise is destroyed. I have has nothing but MS products all my 37 years of life. Band was killed, Windows phone the same, Xbox Music, Zune ... nah. I left for Apple way a go, and now last to G Suite instead of Office 365 for my own company. G Suite beeing way easier for a small B to administer. We also invested lots of money in Windows phone btw. Face it ... ms in consumer market is a dead fish in the water.

  14. wolters

    I chose Wunderlist a few years ago as my family's "To-Do" list app. When To-Do was released, I decided to jump on it and could live without what wasn't there. Now, today, I've considered going back to Wunderlist. I just can't wait much longer and I need my shared tasks.

    • Igor Engelen

      In reply to wolters:

      All I wanted some years ago was a shared grocery list, Wunderlist did that just perfect. Last time I checked To-do that wasn't even possible, talk about a joke...

      • wolters

        In reply to Igor Engelen:

        I've since moved to the Grocery List with Google goes to Google Express but works great via voice commands.

      • IanYates82

        In reply to Igor Engelen:

        Yep, that's crazy.

        A To-Do app is literally the thing most JavaScript frameworks have as a getting started & comparison app. See

        I use Wunderlist to

        * help me pack for when I travel

        * shared packing list if we, as a family, travel

        * shared grocery list

        That stuff still works perfectly well. If the new To-Do can't do that stuff, which I would consider the bare functionality of any To-Do app written by someone who's not in high school, then how could they declare this news a year ago? Ridiculous.

  15. MixedFarmer75

    I am sticking with Wunderlist, until they get To-Do to the point I can use it. I know some people have issues with it, but Wunderlist just works. The only feature that I care about is the ability to share and sync lists.

  16. Chris_Kez

    Microsoft simply committed a huge unforced error by prematurely announcing To Do and leading some Wunderlist users to unnecessarily abandon the app. Wunderlist works great and I'll use it until it actually goes away.

  17. Mestiphal

    "Microsoft has recently put the To-Do team under Joe Belfiore"

    So, how does that work, there is a team that has 500 projects with different products and they have to prioritize, or is there an actual team dedicated to To-Do, not doing anything and still getting paid every other Friday?

  18. meyowjr

    I read that Microsoft acquired Wunderlist over a year ago. I went through the migration process, and everything seemed to move over OK. However, the lack of a Mac application limits the utility of the To Do product. It's too much trouble to have to go to the website version to use the product on the Mac. There are a number of Wunderlist functions that are missing in To Do, making it very frustrating to use the new product. I finally deleted the To Do app from my iPhone and iPad and returned to using Wunderlist, including the Mac application. I hope Wunderlist stays viable for the future.

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