Wiki startup JotSpot was acquired Tuesday by Google (Techmeme discussion) and I think it’s a very smart move for all parties. JotSpot is one of the few companies that earnestly put design and the user’s experience above other things, and I’m sure this did not go unnoticed by Google.
Amidst the congratulatory reach-arounds was an entry on the Socialtext blog by well-known entrepreneur and Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield. A quote:
“Our experience has been that JotSpot customers convert to Socialtext when they realize they need a real business-class wiki,” said Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield. “We have been gaining customers since they discontinued their Appliance offering. We hear a high degree of uncertainty from users faced with a potential lag in innovation and unclear integration strategy with Google. Socialtext is ready to support you and your business during this critical time.”
My translation out of PR speak and into what Ross really wanted to say:
“JotSpot was a competitor and we love it when some of their users come to us. JotSpot isn’t focused on the enterprise-class like we are, and because of that shortcoming we’ve been signing up some new accounts, and now will offer JotSpot users a free Socialtext wiki so that they can do grown-up, adult things like collaborate on Gantt charts and P/E ratio calculations. We’re silently upset that Google bought JotSpot, and the only mud we can sling is that even though Jot users will soon get Google’s world-class servers, there’s still a chance that their data is unavailable for 1-2 hours or the migration takes longer than they planned. If that improbable event does occur, not only will your business lose money but your children will all get projectile diarrhea, so you better migrate now or we’ll have to say we told you so.
Some things that Ross obviously left out of his heart-warming congratulatory post:
- All JotSpot accounts, at any level, are now free, as in beer.
- All JotSpot accounts are still active, you can login and do whatever you want.
See if JotSpot were being evil and shutting down all user accounts, suspending paying users, and holding data for ransom then Socialtext’s offer would be a light shining from heaven. But because there’s honestly nothing negative about the Google acquisition from Jot’s users’ points of view, it just comes out as underhanded. The timing really is interesting though, because just a day before JotSpot was acquired, SocialText announced a partnership with Microsoft to let Microsoft SharePoint users have simple, editable pages….. err….. enterprise-class collaborative wiki solutions be part of their application.
SocialText laughs on Monday but JotSpot gets the last laugh on Tuesday.