Google Buys Email App Creator Sparrow

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Google has purchased Sparrow, creator or the popular e-mail client for Mac and iPhone. Acquisitions like this one are important to businesses large and small. For the firm doing the acquiring, it offers the opportunity to bring new talent and capabilities into the company and perhaps new customers and a new business model too. For the company being acquired, it offers the opportunity for greater resources, support, and investment when growing a product or service. Still, some former customers are less than happy. Here’s how the Sparrow acquisition breaks down.

Acquiring Innovation

In a league of their own. The team behind Sparrow is a unique group responsible for creating the popular e-mail client for Mac and iPhone products. So far neither Sparrow nor Google has released official details, but an inside source has revealed the acquisition was for less than $25 million. The team will now move to Google to help add “beauty” to Gmail. The Verge

Giving credit where it’s due. Here’s the actual announcement about the Google acquisition, straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. You’ll notice the attention Dom Leca, Sparrow CEO, gives to the company’s faithful fans and customers, even when announcing the changes ahead. It’s important to think about your customers when selling to a larger company and to be sure that organization shares your vision about serving your niche. Sparrow

An Uncertain Future

The app that got away. The problem for Sparrow’s hardcore customers is that acquisition by Google will likely mean the barest essentials of maintenance and bug fixes for existing apps, and maybe no long anticipated iPad e-mail app at all. For loyal customers this is the hardest part of the process and something both the company acquiring and the one being acquired must keep in mind. Internet Evolution

Building a better mousetrap. Before Sparrow customers get too bummed out, though, it’s important to realize that, in all likelihood, the Sparrow acquisition will soon make Gmail for Apple devices better…a lot better. The sparrow team brings to Google its expertise in creating simple but powerful tools for Mac, iPhone, and maybe even iPad. All Things Digital

Selling Out

When opportunity knocks. The thing to remember, though, when acquiring another company, is that all of their customers may not come along. Just check out the marketing campaign by Postbox, a Sparrow competitor, to lure away customers from existing apps in light of the Google acquisition. When acquiring another business, be sure you’re conscious of retaining needed customers by creating a smooth transition. The Next Web

The better business model. In this interesting post, Rian van der Merwe explains what the Sparrow acquisition really means and why it might upset a good portion of the online business development community. The philosophy that offering paid services, like Sparrow, rather than leveraging your users to sell advertising, like Google does, may be at stake here, and the clear winner seems to be the latter. Elezea

The downside of acquisition. While large businesses sometimes need the talent and expertise smaller firms have to offer and smaller companies find it hard to resist the resources and security of larger firms, the reality, some argue, is that when tech firms the size of Google or Facebook acquire a startup, it’s unlikely much of the company’s original vision will be retained. Given the choice, would you sell to Google? Techland

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  1. Hei,

    I used sparrow a lot on my iphone. Hope Google will learn from the success of this app.


    Phillip from