In an earlier post titled "When Competitors are acquired" I discussed that rather than sulk and wish it were you who was bought, smart companies will go out and capitalize on the opportunity as their competition is temporarily distracted and inwardly focused on creating synergies. Rather than comment on the whys of the Google Jotspot deal, I would rather point out what smart competitors like Ross Mayfield of Socialtext are doing to capitalize on the deal. As mentioned in his blog post:
Socialtext, the first wiki company, announced today a free hosted wiki program for JotSpot customers following that company’s acquisition by Google. Socialtext will migrate JotSpot wiki content and provide one year of Socialtext Professional hosted wiki service to any JotSpot customer who signs up by the end of November 2006. While most JotSpot customers are small-to-midsized businesses, this offer is extended to deployments of any size.
Who knows whether or not Ross’ program will be ultimately successful but I certainly applaud his efforts for being aggressive and moving quickly on the deal. For what it is worth, I have used both services in the past and while Socialtext was certainly more powerful and flexible, I found Jotspot incredibly easy to use. As i have mentioned repeatedly, reducing the barrier or friction to usage is incredibly important on the web and can be a make or break issue for your business. As Ross says, while Socialtext (higher end) and Jotspot (lower end) are clearly going after different segments of the market, it seems that Jotspot’s vision to go after the lower end and help the power user with an incredibly easy to use service won the day for Google, as it continues to expand its efforts to take on portions of Microsoft’s business.