From Wunderlist to Microsoft To Do: Why It Is Important to Improve the Purchased Product

From Wunderlist to Microsoft To Do_ Why It Is Important to Improve the Purchased Product


It is painful to watch products and solutions that once made a splash in the market, but after some time they start to die. Young, ambitious solutions come to their place. And the young products do it with such “force” that the existing products remain in “knockout” and hear the voice of the referee, who counts them: -1% market share, -2% market share, -3% and so on.

Today I want to share my personal user experience with the Wunderlist app, which will be bought by Microsoft in 2015 and renamed Microsoft To Do.

Wunderlist and Microsoft To Do

I can confidently say that I am a loyal user and have been using this app for more than 8 years. What hooked me? I don’t know exactly, but most likely it’s a nice design + conciseness. I tried to use other solutions, but still came back.

In 2015 I was anxious: Microsoft decided to buy Wunderlist. The anxiety arose because I know what happens to products when they are bought by corporations (Instagram → Facebook, Twitch → Amazon, Twitter → Elon Musk): they start to change more towards business than towards User-centered Design.

I don’t argue, it’s great when companies buy startups, but often it’s painful for the existing user base.

What is the problem?

The problem is that in these 8 years, since Microsoft bought Wunderlist, no global innovations have occurred in the product. The app was a cool task management application, and it remained so. And users constantly demand freshness. If there is nothing important in Peter’s app, but everything is available in Vasya’s app (and even beyond that), then the user will most likely leave for Vasya.

From the outside it seems that Microsoft used the tactic of “Don’t touch! It’s good as it is!”, which is hopeless today. This is a bad tactic when you have a good app.

When you have a good user base, you have to set the trend and rhythm in the market, at least you have the opportunities and means for that. If you choose the tactic of “Don’t touch!”, then you are waiting for a sad fate.

Evernote was once a leader in the category of note-taking apps. But then Apple decided to tweak Notes a bit and added new features that, together with the ecosystem, solved most of the users’ problems. And then Notion came and just buried everyone.


There are many examples in the world when leading companies missed the moment and eventually went bankrupt or lost a huge market share:

Blockbuster, which refused to buy Netflix for $50 million in 2000.

Nokia + BlackBerry

Kodak, which failed to adapt to the new “digital” realities.

Why did I decide to pay attention to Microsoft To Do? I am finishing my UX Research of users with ADHD and with some participants, several of them mentioned TickTick. I was interested in what could be there since I have Microsoft To Do! It turned out that the guys from TickTick added cool and useful features for planning tasks.

For example, the Eisenhower Matrix. I liked using it because sometimes the number of tasks is huge and you just get lost and don’t understand what to grab. The Eisenhower matrix helps in this regard. In addition, they added a simple Pomodoro timer and now you don’t need to open an additional app / tab in your browser.

And I was offended by Wunderlist (Microsoft To Do). Microsoft, you have a cool app, but you have petrified and are losing to young and ambitious ones. The future is theirs.

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