Home Etherpad Goes to Google – Just Another Silicon Valley Soap Opera

Etherpad Goes to Google – Just Another Silicon Valley Soap Opera

Innovative real-time document collaboration software company AppJet, makers of Etherpad, has been acquired by Google. TechCrunch broke the news and AppJet promptly confirmed it. AppJet was started by ex-Googlers, got a YCombinator investment (you know, that firm that invests in anonymous college kids from around the country) and will now close down its own product to work on Google Wave.

What a cynical bore. Here’s the new formula, meant only to tease users with innovation and ultimately enrich a select few Valley darlings:

  • Be a smart computer scientist
  • Get a job at Google
  • Leave Google, create startup
  • Use your Google resume to get high profile Silicon Valley backing
  • Build something cool, win some fans
  • Sell to Google
  • Tell Silicon Valley insider press about sale
  • Kill product, break a few hearts, get absorbed again by Google but with millions of dollars in your pocket
  • Work on less interesting Google product…
  • Repeat, if you can get away with it.

See also: AppJet’s EtherPad: The Demo That Ate the Company

Some people don’t go right back to Google, they go to Facebook or Twitter. You thought FeedBurner had a lot of potential? It’s an ad network now, its founders have nice houses and work on other things or in other places. FriendFeed was cool, founded by ex-Googlers who are now at Facebook and say that FriendFeed is actually too sophisticated for the users of their new Sugar Daddy’s software.

Check out the Etherpad company blog post about the deal. They didn’t even pretend to be sorry about closing the service. They didn’t thank any community of users for help along the way. They just said the deal is done, here’s what’s happening to the money you paid, now get out.

Maybe Google Wave will change the world, maybe it won’t. It’s hard for a person who loves startups and innovation not to feel a little toyed with by this kind of drama though.

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