There's a standard model in the valley on both the supply and demand side. It goes like this:
On the demand side:
Recruiting costs money. Hiring talent is risky when you don't know the caliber. Picking up one engineer at a time is costly and inefficient because you're competing with many other great companies. Acquiring a group of proven engineers not only solves all these problems but it gives you a way to lock them into working for you for years with an earn-out. And every engineer knows that dev's who "sold a startup" get laid more.
On the supply side:
A great business model is to come up with a startup that is super-interesting to talented engineers. Raise money and recruit them in droves with the prospect of massive wealth and being the next Facebook. Hand out stock options like candy and never mention the difference between short and long-term capital gains. Then when you hit 10+ great employees, start shaking your booty around the valley and see if you can flip for $2M per engineer plus a nice cash-out for founders and investors. [Usually around $20M total].
Also, while I am not in startups, I thought the whole attraction for those who do them is the independence in doing your own thing. I find it hard to believe that this can be achieved after being subsumed in Google, Facebook, or other giant.
But ultimately the attraction is independence and faster iteration. That's why you see people who wind up going back to startups.
It would be really wonderful if companies could use open standards and honest dealing, so that firms could interoperate effectively with out merging&acquiring.
Our tax system punishes that, though, so it is much more cost-effective to buy a small company than to buy their product and pay sales tax.
There haven't been any significant updates for Versions since I purchased my license for it two years ago, so I don't see how the situation for Versions could get worse at this point.
What's the problem again?
I don't really disagree with the point you make below about software licenses, and that when you buy a license you're paying for the software as it exists today, right now. But I think my take is more along the lines of nestlequ1k's. When I bought a license for Versions, I went into that "relationship" (ugh) with the expectation that Sofa would continue to improve on it, and that I've have the opportunity to buy future upgrades. That's unlikely to happen at this point. So yeah, I got what I paid for, no argument there, but I can't deny that I'm disappointed with how things turned out.
I don't mind paying for upgrades. But I want these upgrades to exist, and for the developers to commit to the product they are selling and improve it over time.
If any customer ever asks me: "I'll buy it if you add this feature", I always reply: "please buy it based on current features otherwise I cannot promise anything".
Your opinion as a software developer means nothing in this case. Ask your customers what they think. You might be able to get away with this strategy for a little while, but it's a surefire way to kill any product. Stop updating an app for a few years and see how great your sales are after that.
The common characteristics:
* The customers are not whiners: Does it work? Yes? Sold
* Non-trivial problem: Inventory, computer graphics, math
* Pricing: Expensive
So, ok, some company making a subversion interface stopped updating their software. Someone else picks it up because it's /easy/.
That's why you don't make software for software developers! Sell them chairs or something.
These guys keep making money because the problems they solve are hard.
Next they might be adding cloud services for its users and for that they need to capture all of the platforms for their clients.
Every few months there is an ipad Facebook app. No official app. It's about time.
Surprising, too; If some BigCo would buy the company I work for and ask me to pretty please move across the pond, I'd reconsider inf times.
However their track record with products leaves a lot to be desired?
Look at DiscoAPP. They put the app out, collected some money and left it to collect dust. I offered to buy the source and they said someday they would pick it up again. Never happened.
Versions is good app. But they simply move at a glacial pace. Again, collect money and development almost stops.
So I guess Cornerstone is going to get a lot more business as I think many long time Apple folks realize their purchases from Sofa are obsolete.
Shame because they have talent.
Edit: I'm sure it will have something to do with their design skills, which are pretty good!
Or maybe it's just a talent acquisition. :)
You meant dribbble.com. But yes ... these days it's pretty easy to find a good icon designer.
That's a tremendously small percentage of designers. Consider the number of people that get into design, the number of designers who are extremely good at what they do, AND the number who get into icon design.
On one hand this stinks because Acclivity has shown little ability to create excellent software. On the other hand, Sofa's development speed is crazy slow. Way too much pixel-pushing.
But after browsing through http://www.madebysofa.com/#design, I'm absolutely floored. This is beyond top-notch.
This was a perfectly justifiable acquisition of sky-high talent.
Yes, I somewhat disagree with the acquihire in principle, but in these cases it makes sense. I liken this to buying a division from a large company. Keep the team intact, on-board them cohesively, and Facebook will have a big win here. I hope Sofa's team is successful in shifting Facebook's aesthetic from "function over form" to a better balance of the two.
I understand they wanted to capitalize on their talent, but I'm afraid that Facebook, like any other mastodon, will drain their shine. That would be really sad.
We won't be taking on any more contract work (haven't anyway since the end of 2009)
In the fluid mode, the text on the two panes need not be of the same height given the insertions and deletions. So when scrolling, the scroll speeds for the two panes would need to be different. Is this what is being talked about?
I do not have a Mac, so cannot try it myself.