Google purchased real-time document collaboration startup AppJet to fortify the Google Wave real-time collaboration platform Dec. 4. The move was a sellout from a company that felt it couldn't compete with the sheer scope of Wave and Google, Y Combinator partner Paul Graham said. Now EtherPad is no longer accepting new customers, and anyone who has registered an e-mail address with EtherPad will be e-mailed an invitation to join the Google Wave preview by Dec. 31, 2009. EtherPad users are angry, and Graham's explanation of why AppJet quit is unlikely to appease them.
Google purchased real-time document collaboration startup AppJet to fortify
the Google Wave real-time collaboration platform, AppJet said
on its blog Dec. 4.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though GigaOm reported
a purchase price of $10 million. The move was a sellout
by a company that felt it couldn't compete with the sheer scope of Wave and
Google, one of AppJet's investors said.
Formed by several ex-Google employees, AppJet makes EtherPad, which enables
users to import word processing documents, Web pages, PDFs and plain text
files, and lets several them edit them at the same time. When multiple people
edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on
everyone's screen. These sessions are saved as "pads."
As such, EtherPad essentially fulfills one of the core traits of Wave, which
rolls e-mail, instant messaging, document collaboration, file sharing and
social networking into one platform. Paul Graham, partner for AppJet investor Y
"The reason they decided to go with Google was that they were literally
overwhelmed by Wave: after meeting the Wave guys, they were so impressed that
they (a) wanted to work on Wave themselves, and (b) didn't want to compete with
it. After watching the Appjets tough it out for the past two years, I knew they
weren't simply being cowards."
However, there were some key differences in the way Wave and Etherpad toil
in the market. Google is gradually rolling out
the HTML5-based Wave for free to more than 100,000
users and has made it explicitly a public platform released under open source.
EtherPad Free Edition, where pads are partially secured by creating unique and
non-guessable URLs. For $8 per user per month, EtherPad Professional was geared
for companies or individuals who would like to have their data hosted securely
on AppJet's servers. For $99 per user, EtherPad Private Network Edition was a
license for a company to run EtherPad internally on its own servers.
Now EtherPad is no longer accepting new customers, and anyone who have registered
an e-mail address with EtherPad will be e-mailed an invitation to join the
Google Wave preview by Dec.
Users of the Free Edition or Professional Edition will be able edit their
existing pads until March
31, 2010, but no new free public pads may be created and pads and
info associated with them will be deleted after that date. Professional Edition
users will not be charged for the EtherPad service after Dec. 4.