Fiasco | On Google, Nik and Stupid Acquisitions.

Bear with me on this one. I didn’t want to eclipse the great news from Fuji this morning but I need to vent.

Probably the worst photography related news I’ve heard in a long time: Google has acquired german-based Nik Software. No wait… They’ve bought Instagram rival Snapseed!

Says it all right there doesn’t it?

It’s a very sad day for photographers. A Google representative asked about how this would affect existing users said: “For now, users can expect business as usual.” For now. Right on Google man.

Personally this won’t affect me. I began moving away from a plugins workflow when Aperture 3 was released and didn’t update my Nik suite when the last version was released. If I had I’d be pissed. If I’d purchased the entire collection two weeks ago? I’d be livid.

The problem isn’t that Nik was acquired. The problem is the reason behind the acquisition: Google+. Google is a company that has ZERO interest in providing serious desktop software solutions for photographers, let alone a suite of plugins that run inside other applications. Can you call Google for customer support? All they want, their sole reason for existing is to get as much eyeballs as possible so they can sell ads. That’s it. It’s the reason behind Android and everything else they do. So Silver EFEX Pro in Aperture? Forget it. Maybe you’ll get a dumbed down version in Picasa or directly inside Google+ because, you know, photographers do their best work in a browser.

A few months ago my favourite RSS reader app — Pulp — was purchased by Facebook out of the blue. This happened just a couple of weeks after a new version for iOS and OS X had been released. I already used the iOS app and had just bought the OS X version. Now both are orphaned, will no longer see any fixes but hey! The developer assured everyone in his announcement that all their apps would still be available for purchase! Gee… Thanks, wonderful news. We can still give you money for stuff that will probably break with the next OS update? Where do I sign up?

Capitalism is the game. I get that. And I can totally understand the incentive for developers: they’re probably buying Porshes today. But I’m sick and tired of acquisitions that don’t make any sense and end up killing off good products, leaving users in the dust. It. Sucks.

I’m a Logic user. When Apple purchased Logic 5 from Emagic many years ago they followed-up a few months later with Logic 6 that included a huge price drop in the base application as well as bundling all the instrument plugins that used to be sold separately at about $400 a pop. I’d paid full price for those from Emagic but that’s life. Over the next few years they not only kept up the development but made the package more powerful and affordable. Of course, this was before Apple’s huge success in the consumer market and Logic is now in the same dead zone as Aperture and other pro apps. Time will tell. But we still had a good ten years of amazing updates. Which makes sense because Apple was always about providing solutions for creative people.

Google? Not so much. Facebook? Don’t get me started.

The comments on Nik’s blog post are overwhelmingly negative. The comments on Google+ are overwhelmingly positive and usually go something like “Great news! Now we can get Snapseed on Android!” or “Cool! Can you make Snapseed Free?” or “Yay! I Love Picasa!”… Urgh.

Now I just hope Microsoft doesn’t buy VSCO…