Google Gobbles JotSpot

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 31, 2006

Search giant Google has bought yet another hot startup that had hoped to be one of the next big things (and no doubt still does). JotSpot, the company started three years ago by Excite cofounders Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, was angling to build group-editable sites called wikis into a platform for simple business applications. I haven’t yet talked to Joe, but here’s what he has to say on the Google blog:

As we built the business over the past three years Google consistently attracted our attention. We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online. Then when we had conversations with people at Google we found ourselves completing each other’s sentences. Joining Google allows us to plug into the resources that only a company of Google’s scale can offer, like a huge audience, access to world-class data centers and a team of incredibly smart people.

I’m sure that’s all true, and we may well see a lot more of JotSpot’s technology out there now. It also shows all the more that Google is dead serious about creating a comprehensive suite of online business applications.

But I’m also sure that Joe would have preferred to stay independent and see if he could make a go of it this time. I know, this is just the way it goes in the tech biz. But I wonder if the power (and $) of Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Microsoft are going to blunt some of the innovative spark that has driven the current wave of Web startups before it has a chance to get kindled.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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