I think the benefits of having a successful peer far outweigh your ability to use a free online text editor. Whatever loss in productivity is caused by the absence of Etherpad (or god forbid, having to use a G-branded version, or another service) can be made up for with the rush and motivation you should get from seeing one of your own get off the Ramen diet at last (or at least not have to worry if their effort will ever pay off; stuff like Etherpad will get built into browsers and OSes RSN)
Any big fish could have taken their client base without paying a dime; everyone from Skype to Computer Associates could have obsoleted them without even trying. Heck, Open Source IM packages like Pidgin could easily add a service like Etherpad and those boys would have labored for nothing.
If you don't like what I am saying, the next time you cash out, just know that I am just as happy for you :-)
Saying that everyone could have obsoleted EtherPad is like saying Intuit could have obsoleted Mint - Hard to argue with except by pointing out the facts on the ground don't support that version of reality.
Etherpad ROCKED - I've spent a couple weeks now with Wave, used it for a bunch of projects, and every time I use it, I did so grudgingly, realizing that Etherpad was lighter, cleaner, and more elegant compared to Wave's all-in-one platform approach. Yes, it's true that I can insert YouTube Videos, Polling Systems, and even a freaking ChatServer into my WaveDocuments - but it always felt like more of a technology exercise than a useful use of an application.
Let's hope that the EtherPads can do for Wave, what the Mint Team will (hopefully) do for Intuit.
That's like saying it's good when a band starts making music to make money instead of to make entertainment/for the love of music. It's great for them that they have profited from their effort (and they have the right to do so) but the ultimate goal of all this should be to make the world a better place in some way, not to make money. Creating a sustainable way to improve people's lives is the goal.
The band comparison is a fallacy: musicians are not in my line of work, I don't watch musicians for social cues and I sure as hell do not use their business decisions, lifestyle and success as a benchmark for my own. Software developers and entrepreneurs I do.
Game recognizes game, and right now I don't see much of it in this thread.