To bigger companies: chill out with the "acquihires." If anything, do what Facebook did with Instagram and keep them working on their product. It would be awesome to see the guts of Sparrow used in a Google branded Gmail client or similar (hopefully that happens, but I'm reluctant based on this statement).
I think it's a matter of perspective. As someone who doesn't use and has no intention of ever using OS X or iOS, this is great news for me! I've been hearing a lot about Sparrow's revolutionary UI, but haven't benefited at all because they don't support Linux, Android, or Windows. Now, there's a very good chance that some of Sparrow's UI features will be incorporated into the Gmail web UI and into the Gmail apps for Android phones and tablets.
The biggest concern I have with this is the same thing that happened to Tweetie: the one company that should have scooped it up did and then completely changed it into something that barely represented the existing app (and more or less dropped an interest in the desktop client).
Now you might argue that some of those choices aren't that appealing, or that it's not guaranteed that someone else will pick up the app and run with it... but look at the scenarios with a closed-source, proprietary app: If the devs drop it, you're f%!#d, end of story.
I do wish companies that abandon projects would OSS them more often though.
Agreed. But to their credit, Google have some history of open-sourcing things, so maybe there's a chance that this product will be released as well. At least one can hope...
No it isn't. I didn't say that F/OSS is universally better than closed source, or anything crazy. I said that F/OSS has one specific advantage over closed-source, proprietary software, and that relates to the ability for a different group to continue development of a project that would otherwise be abandonware. Are you going to argue that this isn't the case?
No GUI-based F/OSS product has ever achieved the level of polish and usability of things like Sparrow because the people working on open source projects only want to do coding, they don't care about design, bug detection, documentation or, God forbid, user interfaces.
That's debatable, but it also has nothing to do with what I said. Yes, F/OSS has a reputation for being weaker on the UI/UX/design front, no one is contesting that, so far as I can see.
* without a corporate "sponsor" entity behind it. (Chromium => Google, etc.)
On the other hand I use a lot of OSS on servers and in the past on my workstations, and have modified them and fixed bugs and such. There are definite advantages but this particular one is not that useful on a large scale.
That said, yes, I agree that some projects would be difficult (maybe even impossible) to monetize as F/OSS. We know the enterprise stuff works, consumer apps may or may not be a different story. I think that book still remains to be written.
No you didn't. You bought. There was no investment, you should not expect a 'return'.
Even worse, I invested in Sparrow because I vastly prefer desktop apps like Sparrow to web apps like GMail. That's sad.
How is that "a few years"?
(Granted, October of 2010 still isn't ‘a few years’ a go.)
It's a little embarrassing that most software is so bad at simple tasks like this.
Why acquire a whole company if all you want is to re-use some of their good UX ideas? You get those for free with the app.
Presumably the talent was another draw for Google, but will breaking up/subsuming the team defeat that purpose?
Rather, I'm asking the developer's why drop their work on the application entirely? Why not continue the development at Google a la Instagram?
Moreover, the real discontent is more so with seeing a talented group being bought out and not encouraged to grow on their own. I've found that some of the most unique and useful work has come out of small dev shops. I'd rather see the company continue and see where they would have taken sparrow or any other ideas they might have.
I'm extremely happy for and congratulatory to the Sparrow team. Their work is most definitely worth any offer they've been given.
I think it sucks, and as a user that bought the app strictly to support future progress I feel abandoned. I don't really give a shit if I have a "say" or not in their decisions. I don't like how it went down. Assuming they leave Google and launch another startup (which we all know they will) I certainly won't be supporting them in the future.
Just as I have no say in their progress, they have no say on how I choose to characterize their departure. I say, they took the money and ran. I prefer devs I can trust to stick around.
I'm amazed at how often I read here that even a million is pocket change that changes nothing on the receivers life.
I just don't need such a house.
And while costs are higher, salaries are much higher as well.
It's absurd to act like a $500k payout puts you on easy street.
It's absurd to act as if it's pocket change. Upon receiving that kind of money, you just leave the valley and move elsewhere doing the work you want to do, living off the interests.
Well, unless all you want to do is working for somebody else on the valley :)
If it really was enough for them to live on and comfortably leave development, then kudos to them. They don't need that goodwill anymore from us. Assuming they come back with another startup a couple years down the line, which we all know they will, then we'll see if it was a smart decision.
If my paying $9 for a widget is not good enough isn't it ok to tell me things are not going as well as expected and you're looking for solutions? If you leave me in the dust and come back next week as Parentco Widget Version 2 then at the very least you'll cause me to raise my eyebrows.
There. Now you don't have to ask them to disclose things anymore.
I have had no reason to expect this to be the norm in the past and I have no reason to expect it now. You don't just get to abandon your users without repercussions, as easy as that would make things for you. You can comfort yourself with whatever free market BS makes you feel better, you still screwed over the userbase that gave you prominence.
"Free market BS". Because I think a $9.99 mail client sale doesn't make a developer your indentured servant.
I think they'll be fine.
No, you don't. Was there any purpose to asking that three times besides to emphasize that it should be read in the most condescending way possible?
> What repercussions would those be, angry anonymous message board guy?
My name is Ross Woodruff, I live in Toronto, Ontario. I use my shinratdr name everywhere. I don't try to be anonymous, I'm not, and I don't see what that has to do with anything.
> Are you never ever nerver nenver neva-neva-nen going to hire them or buy their products again?
Basically. You can characterize me as a stubborn child all you want (really solid argument tactic there BTW), I think abandoning users is a crappy thing to do. I also don't think I'm the only one who supported them with this opinion.
> Because I think a $9.99 mail client sale doesn't make a developer your indentured servant.
No because it has no bearing in reality. Your users don't care and aren't going to be understanding that you abandoned them. The theories you espouse are just things devs can tell themselves to make themselves feel better about doing what is, in essence, a really crappy thing to their users.
They don't change the reality. Likewise, users being mad at you doesn't equal indentured servitude. The only thing that defines indentured servitude is your ability to leave. They left. Is anyone demanding they return and continue the app? No. We're just making it known we support devs that support us.
> I think they'll be fine.
So long as they stay in the corporate world from now on. Should they switch back to a startup, plenty of users will hear "from the Sparrow team" in the future and avoid the product because they can't trust it will be available & useful for them in them when they need it.
They sold out their reputation in the iOS & OS X software world for jobs at Google. I hope that you're right and it was worth it. From what we've seen in the past, that won't be the case. Most startup types abandon those jobs within a couple years and are back to independent development right away. They might not find the user community so welcoming the second time around.
> They sold out their reputation in the iOS & OS X software world for jobs at Google. I hope that you're right and it was worth it. From what we've seen in the past, that won't be the case. Most startup types abandon those jobs within a couple years and are back to independent development right away. They might not find the user community so welcoming the second time around.
Oh please. If they quit their Google jobs and come out with more software that is better than anything currently doing the same task it will sell like hot cakes. No one will care that a couple years ago the same people sold awesome software for really cheap and lots of people used it.
People remember when you screw up their workflow. Devs love to ignore that but it's true. The price, at least after the purchase is complete, is near irrelevant. I paid $10 for a Better Finder Rename and they've been around for decades. I paid $10 for HyperDock, I paid $15 for SoundStudio. $10 for Printopia. None of them have abandoned their app.
You disagree and think it's an over the top reaction. That's fine. It also makes it blindingly obvious that you're a dev first and a user second. As a user first, especially an OS X user, I only support devs that support me. Not worth getting used to a new program otherwise.
Most of these weren't funded by VCs expecting some sort of liquidity event to get return on their investment.
You bought the app in its current state for $10. Any further development + new features is nice but not something you are entitled to.
As long as they don't delete your copy of the app everything is fine.
I bought many apps on my system for around $10-$20. Some of them have been around for decades. The cost is near irrelevant. If you altered your workflow to incorporate the app, you invested in it.
They abandoned the product, and as such abandoned their users. Devs are welcome to write out long lists of excuses as to why this is incorrect. Doesn't change how their abandoned customers feel about what they did. If anything it just makes it worse.
> new features is nice but not something you are entitled to.
Who is talking about entitlement? I don't think I deserve it innately. I just want it because other companies can provide it. If this group considers an app lifespan of over a year and a half to be "entitlement" then I won't be supporting them anymore. I'll take that money to a dev that just considers supporting their customers part of the deal instead of a fringe benefit.
I'm also not looking for free new features, I just want the app to have a future. If that involves a price increase or paid upgrades I'm on board. The $10 is negligible. The time spent unlearning that app and relearning a new one isn't.
Kudos to them, as much as it pains the rest of us in the interim we'll get over it. Back to thunderbird! :)
This is the bad side of "trusting" startups and their apps. Pisses me off. I mean (to all you startup guys out there), if you have no intention of continuing your work, AT LEAST OPEN SOURCE THE CODE so some of us can jump in and maintain it!
If the current version basically does the job that it's supposed to, then how did you get screwed? It's not like you spent hundreds of dollars on the app. The Mac version is only $10 for crying out loud.
That does not jive with the Sparrow Team's messaging on the iTunes and Mac app stores that "there will be no new features released for the Sparrow apps, other than minor maintenance and bug fixes".
Sparrow needed to be acquired by Apple. Period.
Imagine iOS mail with Sparrow's gestures and organization?
Of course market validation is a great equalizer.
Our sources also noted that Google isn't ruling out native Gmail clients for platforms beyond iOS and Android, and emphasized that Google wants to bring polish, "beauty," and ease of use to all of its Gmail experiences across platforms (a suggestion that a native client for Mac and PC might be in the offing). Sparrow, apparently, is a way to get there.
Where are the small companies that are building for sustainment? All of these product disappearances do have a long-term effect of causing users to hesitate before signing up to use your offering.
Can't build much sustainment if you have to sell your flag ship product fur $9.99.
I agree iCloud mail is garbage, but frankly so is Gmail.
The sentiment that it would be better if Apple had bought it, I think, is more of a wish that some of Sparrow's awesome would rub off on the standard iOS mail client, since it is a similar app for the same platform.
This whole, Google, is evil for hiring the authors of an app you like. Either they will put them to good use, or make less money.
This isn't as simple and one dimensional as calling a company "evil" - this is about the long term.
Startups in the valley are getting acquired earlier and earlier in their existence as google and Facebook and eventually overlap in their services and audience appeal.
The acquiring of the teams is defensive in that they take that team and their IP etc off the market from their competition. It is offensive in that it squashes any possibility that whatever service it was the startup had would compete for their similar service.
In cases like instagram, it was an obvious choice for Facebook as Facebook is the largest picture sharing service which also wraps all sorts of meta data around the users who are viewing those pics.
Thus, with instagrams reach it fractures attention from facebooks services/user. By acquiring them and ultimately layering the instagram features into facebooks pic offering the attention is not diverted from Facebook.
Attention is the resource that social services are harvesting from their users and monetizing.
If you're not looking at it from this perspective, then I don't believe your critically thinking about what it is that the Internet is, or how to build something that will last.
Companies that provide features, utility and services that keep the attention of users (especially when providing no physical product) are those that will have longevity.
So, capturing those that would build things that direct user attention away from your product is critical to these huge companies.
Im suggesting, that Google has the intent to maximize profits.
So, if turns out bad for us, as consumers, it turns out bad for Google.
Easy for someone to say whom doesn't run the M&A and Strategy department for a multi-nation corporate conglomerate engaged in one of the most competitive spaces for talent acquisition and retention.
It's quite possible that this was actually a way for them to continue doing something they love (coding) without financial stress hanging over their heads.
However, I think it will be much bigger outrage if they raised the price of their software or they started requiring some kind of subscription.
As far as I recall, Instagram kept working on their product because the US Government required them to pending regulatory approval -- which could come as soon as August:
This is really quite frustrating. At least spin off the product, or make some sort of deal to devote some devel time to it.
It has many uses that Gmail proper can't satisfactorily provide, such as offline usage and super-fast switching among multiple accounts.
That said, if someone fills the gap Sparrow leaves, assuming they don't fully deliver in the Google Apps experience, there is still a market to be served. At least for the time being.
Sparrow and Coda are two programs I've always wanted to use regularly.
As for the Sparrow desktop app, well, obviously Google isn't going to be developing a native desktop app for Gmail...
well, obviously Google isn't going to be developing a native desktop app for Gmail.
Sounds like a feature to me, not a bug. Desktop software is going out. Why do you think Mozilla recently canned Thunderbird? I haven't used a desktop mail client since 2005.
I'm inclined to disagree. I use no web apps that I don't have to. We use google apps at work, and I use Mac Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. The web app is a good option if I'm nowhere near my phone or laptop, but it's my absolute last choice.
Ever since the days of Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, I've preferred local desktop clients. I've never enjoyed web apps, and I can't imagine I ever will. It's always a lowest-common-denominator option, and on OS X and iOS, there are too many good desktop clients for the web services I use.
I didn't care for Sparrow, but if Google is going to throw all their work away and put them to work on something else, it's a shame. They did the same thing with the author of Quicksilver, canning that in favour of their own, dramatically inferior, clone. Instead of people switching to Google's version, they generally stayed on Quicksilver until they discovered Alfred, and now his talent and the work he put into it is wasted.
Desktop software is quite useful if you haven't bought into all the post-PC hoopla and still like typing things on a keyboard.
As far as doing work offline, <a href="http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/... Cache</a> has you covered, assuming that by "answer," you mean "compose responses to," because if your software actually lets you respond in those situations then hot damn, I'm totally sold on it, hook us up with a link.
I've been using the AppCache'd Gmail app on iOS and... it's distinctly average compared to the Gmail app on Android. There's a lot web apps can do well, but for Mail I'd much rather have an actual desktop app.
And it's not just composing responses, it's tagging, archiving, deleting and so on with decent, working and reliable sync. The native app on Android rocks, and Sparrow is pretty damn awesome on the Mac.
Why not? Why would they acqui-hire a team who have already built an amazing desktop mail app and not release one of their own? Is the idea that Google may simply rebrand Sparrow to "GMail Desktop" so completely out of the realm of possibility?
Sure, maybe they want the developers to work on other projects, but when their specialty is creating OS X desktop software (it's a lot different than webapp developement), it seems counterintuitive to completely nix this idea as feasible.
I don't get why that's so insane to people either.
Google Talk, Google Desktop (incl. Google Gadgets)...
I am sad to see Sparrow go. :/
Sparrow was indeed originally created for gmail, but what it is today is the very best standard IMAP mail client you can get on a phone.
Unfortunately, it won't be getting any better, though.
If they continue to work on it and improve it, it's pure gravy for the users. If they don't then you've already gotten what you've paid for. It doesn't border on fraud at all.
Having a half-off sale a week before dropping the app isn't honest in any way. What... Google approached them yesterday and they agreed this morning? I doubt that.
More likely they've been in negotiations with Google for weeks. But it's in their best interests to move (in other words squeeze) as much product as possible before dropping the ball. Sleazy.
For all you know the next release was a paid upgrade. Would that be fraudulent too?
This was a dick move. Well within their legal rights, and it's not like they really have to worry about negative PR when they're dissolving the company, but ethically it looks pretty sleazy.
Is the app unusable after it was bought by Google?
If it is still usable, are the features of the app not worth what users paid for?
I don't think it's fair to call it fraud, but it isn't because of the numbers, but because it was sold as a computer program, not a service contract.
"I didn't buy Sparrow thinking I was paying for a piece of software that was feature-complete. I bought Sparrow mail as a piece of innovative software along with the promise of lots of great future updates to come."
I agree with this. I bought Sparrow when it had a pretty big bug with folder management on my IMAP account. I emailed them and they fixed it in an update, but there was still lots of room for Sparrow to grow (If Apple allows them to do push, other integration with the OS like Siri, etc).
It looks like Sparrow will turn into the Gmail client for iOS, which is a shit sandwich for everyone who doesn't use Gmail.
Then they should've put it on sale for $4.99 today, after the announcement, with a note in the description that it will no longer receive new features.
If it's indeed a deal, surely all the people who bought last week would've bought this week.
But imagine that you just bought either Sparrow a few days ago, or even worse, made it part of your workflow.
On the other hand, it's always an inherent danger with proprietary software. Open software gets maintained by Debian for like forever ;). I learnt that lesson after the demise of Be Inc.
I also suspect that the people who bought it are going to decide that the app is great, the Sparrow statement about "we will provide support and critical updates to our users" is at least something, and giving up the app for $5 is not worth it.
Either way, we're not talking about major dollars here. I'll bet most people purchased it with a credit card, and could file a claim for a refund with their card if they really felt so financially raped over the price of a beer.
We're excited to let you know that Sparrow has been
acquired by Google! You can view our public announcement
here, but I wanted to reach out directly to make sure you
were aware of the news.
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
It’s been an honor and a pleasure to build products for all
of our wonderful users who have supported us over the
years. We can't thank you enough.
We look forward to working on some new and exciting
projects at Google!
The core of my disappointment is the expectation of future development that comes with buying into a relatively new piece of software. I didn't buy Sparrow thinking I was paying for a piece of software that was feature-complete. I bought Sparrow mail as a piece of innovative software along with the promise of lots of great future updates to come.
Now, those future updates are done, because Google killed them by acquihiring the Sparrow team.
It feels like more and more, when buying into a new exciting project, the risk is less that the project will fail on its own, and more that it'll be destroyed by an acquihire. Some day, I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a barrier to startups acquiring dedicated new users.
"Let's make as much money from our abandonware as possible before we have to tell everyone it's abandonware."
What happened with Sparrow was unfortunate, but at the same time it was unlikely that an email client like this was ever going to turn into a great standalone business that would adequately compensate a dev team of that quality. One of the benefits of acquisitions like this is that they also encourage other great developers to try building terrific products and taking risks.
I'd also point out that we don't actually know what's going to happen with the codebase or design, just that this is the end of the road for the standalone email client "Sparrow". Obviously if any of that product is released by Google, it's not going to be called that anymore.
A recent example is from Moxie's company Whispersystems and the open-sourcing of their Red Phone product. This came after their acquisition/sale by Twitter.
Does all of this greatly reduce my access to the latest and greatest? Yes it does but then often what is portrayed as the greatest by popularity is not necessarily a great product. And one further note of clarification, if this service is meant to be consumed in a disposable nature then obviously I've got no qualms about something like that as I enjoy actively participating in the world. There's a reason for pragmatism.
When you buy a product, you pay for what it is, not fir what it can be.
This whole idea of free features for ever, is not economially viable in the first place.
It only works as long as they can keep getting new customers at a high rate. But at some point, that will slow down. Then they can either build a whole new product, or try charging current customers again.
My point being: you cant pay a fixed one time price for a service, only for a product as is. If you want constant new features, you should constantly be paying for their constant work.
So no. You dont get to complain,
So here a buyer had an expectation of future development and upgrade, some of them perhaps to be paid for. They invested time and attention learning a new interface and functionality, thinking those upgrades would provide returns on that time invested. Investments like that are how communities are built.
I know squadoosh about the small app market or Sparrow's marketing. But if there are a lot of buyers with expectations like that, then I think you have to speak to those when you are selling or yeah, there is an implicit agreement there. If Sparrow disclosed future plans or roadmaps then the agreement moves toward explicit.
Such obligations aren't enforceable, and what's customary within a market is obviously fuzzy. But that doesn't mean those obligations don't exist or aren't ethical.
Again, I know nothing about this case -- but if there was some understanding that the company would this, that or the other, then it is worth wondering about the ethics of a large company doing an acquisition, to hire people, in the knowledge that the deal breaks some tacit deal with a community.
But in the case of an email app, focused on simplicity and ui design; not feature sets for power users, i dont think this expectation can reasonably consist of new features.
On the other hand: the value was in the ui design, not some dificult technological challenge. If there is actually a viable market here, chances are more than one player will follow in their footsteps. UI designs are easy to copy.
And until then, the kind of support one can reasonable expect, will continue: bug fixes.
During the first bubble, Oracle told one of my customers that they should buy their license for $300K before prices went up. A week after they bought, the price dropped $100K. Now that's getting a big middle finger.
To make this claim about software that costs less than $10 and pays itself off in less than a week? Well that's just being dramatic.
I don't know. This doesn't seem like the most useful stance to take when buying new software. You are almost always going to be disappointed. Nothing lasts for an eternity, whether due to acquisitions, laziness, burnout, etc. I think it's always better going into software purchases with the mindset that you are paying for the current feature set, and anything in addition is just gravy.
How long should they have supported the product with new updates? 6 months, a year, two years, 10 years? Or just until you got sick of it, or found something better?
Oh, please. Unless you're sending these devs money on a regular basis then you're not supporting them, and it's completely foolish to think otherwise. Your continued use of their software does not put any food on their table.
You paid money one time for a piece of software and that's exactly what you got. You deserve nothing more.
This attitude that a one-time payment of a few dollars somehow entitles users to a lifetime of free software, free features, and free updates is utterly irrational; as of a few dollars would grant someone license to a lifetime of a developer's work.
This is still a very sad day for me as a customer. I love Sparrow, but I don't love Gmail. So seeing developers who created something I love move on to something I don't love is very sad.
Also, how many companies that Google acquires eventually just die off?
>... 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.
I was hoping to see Sparrow for Mac further develop, it's my default email client, but it still has plenty of room for improvement. I just hope that "someone" continues where it left off.
Anybody knows if this is an acq-hire, acquisition with intention to further develop Sparrow, acquisition + shutting Sparrow?
They make it sound like we should be happy and excited about this. Please... I've lost all respect for this guy.
The right thing to do was spin it off to someone else; or make arrangements with Google to continuing development, or open source the whole app. The wrong thing to do was to screw the "user" by leaving us all hanging.
Its OK to sell, but they should have pushed Google to maintain an support Sparrow for at least 2 more years.
So really, Google seems to be the place where 1/3 of acquisitions (in which not 100% are "good", per se) go to die.
Its not to say that this acquisition is not a great thing for the Sparrow team, or that Gmail may someday improve (UI wise), but it is an unfortunate trend for users when a great small / niche product is absorbed and obliterated.
This is similar to GitHub and Twitter. Both grew out of the web, but have increasingly acquired or built desktop clients, not to mention mobile ones. And Facebook has made an about-turn on HTML5 everywhere and focusing heavily on native mobile apps.
So I see a trend is that cloud-based services are realising they can't just rely on a website. It would be great to see the web catch up, or even close the gap, but right now, native is offering so much more capability, that both web and native apps are necessary for prominent cloud services. That's good for users, they get the best of both worlds, but also going to be a big challenge for resource-limited startups.
The Sparrow co-founder and CEO Dom Leca discusses Gmail in some detail here...
Interviewer: Why can’t Google write a mail client for the iPhone that’s worth a crap?
Sparrow CEO: Because they don’t really care about it. I mean, they’re not in the native app business, and all that matters with them is to have an app that is identified as the Gmail app on the iOS App Store for mainstream to use, I think. I mean, they don’t believe at all in native things, which makes sense in relation to the whole company.
Interviewer: Right. So they just, they don’t believe in the native thing, or, they probably could deliver it, but they just don’t want to?
Sparrow CEO: Oh, yeah, of course. They could deliver something I think far better than Sparrow or the application they released, but they’re just not allocating any resources to this because they think it’s irrelevant.
2) I highly doubt Sparrow will work with upcoming iOS versions, which means the people that bought it recently have been ripped off.
Argh, I love Sparrow. Why couldn't you do the 37 Signals/Panic/Mail Chimp thing and not sell and just be a nice profitable company that provides some consistency - ohwell.
Like everyone else I think the App Store lost a great app today. However, I also couldn't figure out how Sparrow would be able to grow on $10 one time purchases. Having been a big fan of Eudora back when it was sekrit hacker group at Qualcomm (well not so sekrit but certainly not part of Qualcomm's core business) I talked with their VP of product at some conference and he basically lamented that once you sold it to someone you were done. They didn't like selling bug fixes as 'upgrades' (that was just a paid support model) and once you had a working client there wasn't much reason to upgrade. The 'free' ad-supported version had a better revenue future than the purchased one.
By the same token these guys have to eat right? So its not like they can do the open source route. They really need to be part of a bigger stable of things in order to make it a business.
I did think it would be a good acquisition for Apple as the front end for their gmail killer.
Can a small company survive on one-time purchases of desktop applications? If Sparrow charged $100, they might have more time to scale up their customers, but they would have fewer customers.
Has Y Combinator invested in startups whose primary product was a desktop application?
I wonder what ever happened to that Letters email app for OS X that people were wanting to build? There was a flurry of activity and complaints about Mail.app and then nothing.
I remember thinking at the time it sounded quite interesting, so it's a shame.
I'm guessing the need for it evaporated with the improvements in Mail.app and the development of other native clients.
I was not aware at all that Sparrow was inspired by idea of Letters.app, but I was never a Sparrow user and I'm not a Gmail user.
http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/77 - the podcast itself
Anyone knows a good email client for Gnome? Something that does only email.
What pissed me off even more was the way sparrow announced it like it was some kind of great accomplishment, maybe for their own wallets but not at all for users.
"Full speed ahead!" - What the hell does that mean? They just killed the entire project. More like full speed to nowhere if you ask me.
We're excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired
We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did
our best to provide you with the most intuitive and
pleasurable mailing experience.
Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger
vision — one that we think we can better achieve with
We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users
who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless
feedback and allowed us to build a better mail
application. While we’ll be working on new things at
Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and
provide support for our users.
We had an amazing ride and can't thank you enough.
Full speed ahead!
I love, love thick clients (even though I'm an ambivelent web guy) but every time I see an app as a one-time $10 or even $99 shot, I think: how are they gonna survive in the long run?
In theory: By building the next thick client app and pitching it to their existing customer base. I loved OmniGraffle so OmniFocus was an obvious choice, etc...
Apart from games, are there any examples of this business model left?
Right now mobile is going through the same discovery phase: a cool app comes out, sells a bunch... then what?
Here's hoping that that means my Sparrow app isn't going anywhere...
I don't even see how anyone could debate this.
> Google buys Sparrow, current apps will not get any new features
we're off to a great start.
And Google has not been shy about killing stuff outright, or gutting products to force users into G+, these last two years.
I just recently purchased Sparrow for iPhone a few days ago, regardless of the lack of push, since I knew I'd be supporting a small team with developing an awesome app. I was particularly excited for the promise of push notifications coming in the future (I was going to be more than happy to pay for a subscription service). So now that this Google acquisition has occurred, you've said that you are no longer going to be working on features for Sparrow. Does this include previously promised features, such as push?
If so, it seems like you've slapped me in the face with a huge middle finger. I paid for both of your applications in hopes of a future of growth for what was already an awesome e-mail client, and now you're telling me that you're killing development? That's a really shitty way to treat your customers if you ask me.
From their blog: http://blog.sparrowmailapp.com/
However, Sparrow does not fall into that category.
I think it is a massive mistake to sell like this. They clearly had the product and following (IMHO) to become something massive. Selling early when you are just getting started seems silly to me.
I'm sad that I won't have the continuing evolution of their fantastic product to look forward to.
What exactly does 'massive' look like in this case? One-time payments don't offer dependable growth.
Looks like in this case Sparrow is going the way of the Dodo.
iOS Mail needs those gestures more than Google does.
(Well, of course it's been prettified a bit, but besides a few things like Priority Inbox there have been scant few changes to the interaction. And I always liked that using Sparrow felt different to using the Gmail web interface.)
And why should it? I haven't used Sparrow, but I have no problems with gmail. How is it different / better?
Gmail is pretty much perfect and the Labs additions can basically give you a "Sparrow-like" window and viewing pane already.
APPLE needs these improvements, not google.
There isn't any room for improvement in Gmail? Really? It's still using the same basic design of every email client since forever (labels/mailboxes at the left, inbox shows a time-sorted list of messages, click through a message to read).
Meanwhile Sparrow showed what was possible if you sit down and at least tried to rethink the email interface -- with things like gestures, or by shifting towards streams rather than lists.
People weren't used to seeing emails that followed like IM conversations.
(And yes, Gmail popularized conversation view, but it was talked about at IBM Research and Microsoft Research years earlier. Of course, those guys are even worse at delivering innovative interfaces.)
Support is not "development" if you are just fixing outstanding issues, that's "maintenance".
I doubt it.
I personally think that Sparrow had a chance to sell their business and capitalize on all of the hard work they done so far, let's not forget that this is their business and not a hobby. They need a end game.
I won't try to go into details as this is probably all speculation, but monetizing a client in a saturated market with bigger competitors isn't easy. I can understand that many of you 'invested' $5-$10 in sparrow and think you're entitled to free support and lifetime slavery but let's chill a bit.
So you've lost $10, big deal. I'm sure you guys have invested more money into more lousy software and haven't say a god damn thing.
Sparrow team, good luck, great work, happy to hear that another indie developer made it. Hope to hear more success stories in the future.
Let me repeat that: it's an email client. People's days were ruined by this news? Google is stupid and evil and-I-don't-know-what-else because they acquired Sparrow? The developers of Sparrow are evil because they didn't do what you unreasonably expected them to do? You people need a serious reality check if these were your thoughts. Heck, the app didn't even stop working.
Now, with all that being said, I can understand a little frustration about knowing for certain that your apparently-favorite app will not be updated anymore. Fine. I get it. But can we cut out approximately 90% of the fury?
You have to realize this app existed in the apple-sphere. The user base is part of a very entitlement based generation for the most part. That's why there's so much rage.
Sparrow was up against the native OSX/iOS mail clients, the GMail native and web apps, with the App/Mac Stores as their main distribution channels, which make it nigh impossible to get your app any visibility save the smash hits.
All that considered, it makes perfect sense, to me, why they'd accept a Google offer.
Who wants to build a really super good Gmail client for iPad? Both Google's web-based version as well as their native app are pretty feature-light, and slow, so it seems like there's definitely a market there.
edit: Ah, and they're not going to be adding any new features.
The callousness of this argument annoys me. Hey there, smug twitterer! The universe doesn't owe you anything! If your mother dies of a sudden brain aneurysm tomorrow, you also have no right to complain! Would you welcome me telling you so?
Yes dear, I know. Dead mothers sounds a lot like Godwinism. Whatever. The point remains that the original comment lacks empathy, reason and relevance. It's just a dick being a dick, dickishly.
They will either drop the app, incorporate AdWords on it, or integrate with Google Plus instead of Facebook.
- selfish consumer
If you missed it, the problem on iOS is that they couldn't get push email support working (they tried to use the VOIP exception but Apple caught it while review), so the talk was that they would offer a yearly subscription type thing that would somehow enable push email.
I'm not sure how much that would have been, but I would have almost certainly subscribed.
I wonder if that means that they're going to work on plus. What else would Google think of as a bigger vision for how people communicate?
Anyway, there is a mail client (that began as a project of midori's author) that looks a little bit like sparrow: http://redmine.yorba.org/projects/geary/wiki
It's very early in its dev. stage though.
Google, please do right by your users and put these guys on projects that will deliver as much user value as that of Sparrow.
Maybe with every app ever bought there is a risk that the company goes under, therefore no more updates, and you've lost your money... but in this case, it's simply leaving a sour taste for a lot of people. Add me to this list.
Its really ashamed to see such a promising product get sucked inside the bowels of Google.
If you are hoping to sell, you should price your app at $.99 and hope to get as many users as possible. That also helps me know what your plan is.
It's an e-mail client. The major competitors are pretty much webmail (free), Outlook Express (free), Outlook (which you'd only use if you already paid for it as part of Office), Thunderbird (free), and Apple Mail (free). So, yes, it's a premium price for an e-mail client.
So, what are the alternatives?
Just wanting to point out there is a third option, though not indefinitely.
But if the Sparrow team will have a chance to improve Gmail, then we will all benefit from it. Hopefully, this is the case. Otherwise, it's just annoying.
I would hope at least that they don't eventually pull the app. Some of us actually prefer the native experience to the webapp one.
It feels like the Sparrow team stopped on first base, when the ball is sailing out of the park.
I believe now, Sparrow will be a free product :)
This comment will likely get down voted, but this is my authentic comment on the story. I am having a very negative emotional reaction to the news. Especially the part about not further developing new features (like the iPad app I have been anxiously awaiting).
At best, they can take some UI/UX elements from Sparrow and incorporate them into Gmail as is, but porting it as a webapp or porting it to ChromeOS are both defeating the point of the app and platform, respectively.