Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica on Google’s acquisition of Sparrow:
Like most Sparrow users, the news caught me off-guard; the application had recently been updated in Apple’s App Store, and the latest version had widened its performance lead on Apple’s Mail.app and other Mac OS mail software. But the update turned out to be a final act instead of a prelude to something bigger—and the bow was an undisclosed payday for Leca and Kima Ventures, the French venture capital team that originally backed the company. This is the sort of exit that’s become common to software and Web companies in the current economy, where the only way to get the big payout is to be acquired by a Google, or a Facebook, a Microsoft or an Apple.
I use Sparrow on my desktop and iOS. I absolutely love the application. Sparrow makes email bearable for me, so this is naturally disappointing news.
It’s hard to fault Dom Leca and the Sparrow development team for making the choice to sell out, just as it’s hard to question the decision of Instagram brass to be absorbed into Facebook. What’s disturbing to me, though, is the unstable user environment created by such acquisitions.
I expect such developments when dealing in free apps and lottery ticket business models. It’s harder to stomach when it happens to a shop generating healthy revenue under a viable business strategy. No one saw this one coming.