We lost another one today. Earlier this afternoon, Sparrow, the wonderful email client for iOS and OSX announced that the entire company had been acquired by Google and that no future development of either product would take place. From the announcement:
We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.
This is frustrating beyond belief. The past year has seen a slew of equally brilliant products and teams getting scooped up by the big shops. What’s worse, the technology is being left behind in most instances; shut down entirely or ending further development. Why? In most cases: a buyout of some size. I can understand and justify a move like this in the face of a product that is free to its customers, but for a product that makes real, cold-hard cash? Not good.
The never ending slew of “acquihires” has trained entrepreneurs to build solid products and when the right knock comes to the door, take the deal and run. Everyone has their own motivations and I’m sure the Sparrow team had their own.
This is much less a criticism and more so a question to entrepreneurs: why start a company if you’re not going to build and run it long-term? Why put effort into a product that becomes successful only to sell it to the highest bidder and go get a job?