An attempt to organize Microsoft's growing list of organizing tools

Wunderlist, OneNote and a new (and as yet unannounced) Planner project-management portal are among Microsoft's evolving family of to-do/task management apps and services.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft officials aren't yet saying much about the company's plans for its latest acquisition: 6Wunderkinder, which makes a cross-platform to-do-list app called Wunderlist. But I'm curious how Microsoft plans to slot Wunderlist into its growing list of productivity apps and services.

Microsoft already offers cross-platform versions of OneNote, its note-taking app, which many already use as their to-do-list organizer. Interestingly, Microsoft's blog post acknowledging it had purchased 6Wunderkinder was authored by OneNote General Manager Eran Megiddo.

Microsoft also is working on an app/service called "Highlander," which some have tipped as being a lightweight project-management tool.

Since I originally blogged about Highlander a week ago, I've since learned that Highlander seems to be another of Microsoft's next-generation portals which build on top of its Office Graph. Its actual name looks to be "Planner," according to a couple of contacts of mine who've asked for anonymity.

(I've included a screen shot in this post above which shows Planner, which was one of the downloadable slides in a deck for the Delve and Office Graph futures talk from Microsoft Ignite. From what one of my contacts says, Office 365 users inside Microsoft already have access to Planner, even though Microsoft has yet to announce it publicly.

Planner is one of several new portals Microsoft is planning to make available to Office 365 subscribers in the coming months. There's also a knowledge-management portal, codenamed Infopedia and Office 365 video portal.

Another source of mine said that the coming Office 365 Planner portal is similar to Trello Inc.'s popular Trello project manager. Users will be able to link their documents to specific tasks, projects and/or Yammer conversations. There will be options for a variety of views, such as project status or calendar view (similar to what users can do with tasks in SharePoint), my contact said.

My contact said that Microsoft's removal of the Tasks menu in SharePoint Online last year indicates Microsoft's plans to replace SharePoint Tasks once Planner is available. I've asked Microsoft for comment on Planner, and when/whether it will replace SharePoint Tasks, but have not received word back so far. For what it's worth, when users attempt to access tasks.office.com, however, it directs them to a page called Office 365 Planner.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had "nothing further to share" about Office 365 Planner/Highlander at this time.

"In the months to come, we'll share what's in store as we build on and apply Wunderlist's innovations to Microsoft's apps and services," said OneNote General Manager Megiddo in the June 2 post about Microsoft's 6Wunderkinder acquisition.

Does that mean Microsoft plans to leave Wunderlist pretty much the way it is -- as Microsoft is doing with the Acompli technology it has rebranded as Outlook? Or does it mean Microsoft will take some of the core features and technologies developed by 6Wunderkinder and make them core to other Microsoft collaboration apps and services, similar to the way it is using Yammer's graph and groups functionality in Office 365 and Azure Active Directory?

I guess we'll find out in the coming months....

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