Niall Kennedy, of Technorati, has the news that Google will release a feed API in early 2006.
Here’s another note to Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Ray Ozzie. Hey, I asked you guys to acquire NewsGator three months ago. If you had done that you would have taken the wind out of Google’s sails. But now that Google has a feed API, we’ll need one too and right now NewsGator looks pretty good. Yeah, I know, we have RSS-SSE coming, and we have some Groovy other stuff coming too, but that’s not here yet and it’s hard to get developers excited about a new and unproven API (Google has its work cut out for it too because they don’t have that many RSS users yet. Emphasis on yet).
Yeah, I know that NewsGator has its problems too. Now, we do know that NewsGator’s API is too difficult to use. Why do we know that? Cause Dare Obasanjo (one of our developers who works on MSN Spaces backend and also does the excellent RSS Bandit in his
20% free time) is having troubles figuring it out. Dare writes about the Google news here.
Let’s be honest. We’d rebuild NewsGator from scratch anyway. That’s what big companies usually do after acquiring companies. But, it’s a lot easier to rebuild something that’s already done than have 500 meetings with seven groups figuring out what to do from scratch. What’s the opportunity cost of doing that?
Let’s look at the case for NewsGator again. They own four out of the six most used aggregators. They have the leading Outlook aggregator. Yeah, we’re doing our own in Office 12, but let’s be honest, how long will it be before that gets to more than 50% usage? I’d guess 2010. And even then there are lots of people who’ll still have Outlook 2003, and older Outlook clients, who’ll need to read feeds. Yeah, Attensa is out there with a good competitor too, but Attensa doesn’t have an API. I bet they’ll sign onto Google’s API (or they’ll be bribed with some of Google’s money).
Let’s look at the Mac. NewsGator owns NetNewsWire. It’s the best feed reader on the Mac — by far. Buying NewsGator would rejuvenate our MacBU. The Macintosh is gaining in market share and if Apple announces a nice Intel-based portable computer in January watch things go up even faster.
Now, let’s look at Media Center. A very high percentage of all PCs sold are actually Media Center Editions. Now, who has an aggregator for that? NewsGator again. Why is that important? Well, look at Chris Pirillo’s house. He has an HDTV in his family room. He has an Xbox 360. And he has a Media Center in his office. What was one of the first things he showed me? His Media Center playing on his Xbox’s screen. Now, imagine if NewsGator was pulling down podcasts. If it was going off to the BBC and pulling in pictures and news. If it were going to his Flickr feeds and pulling down his friend’s photos in live time.
Now, switch over to my sooopppeerrr doooopppeeerrr new SmartPhone. Who has an aggregator for that? A few companies, but NewsGator has a Web service that shows me feeds. I like it a lot.
OK, now we are still a company that cares about regular old Windows, right? After all, we’re shipping a new version of Windows next year. So, who has the best aggregator for Windows? NewsGator again. With FeedDemon.
To put a little icing on the cake, NewsGator is the only RSS syndication system that hooks into Microsoft Exchange that I know about.
You’re not on any of these? Well, did you know NewsGator also has a Web client that’s getting raves? I like it better than Bloglines (which is one of the popular feed readers that NewsGator doesn’t own).
Oh, and here’s even more icing: on top of all this NewsGator does blog search and does it better than many of the more popular “blog search” engines. Why? Cause it searches YOUR feeds (which don’t include all the blog spam that hit other engines).
All this stuff is synchronized. Read a feed on your Mac, it marks it as read on Windows, and on SmartPhone, on the Web, on the Media Center, and in Outlook.
Anyway, if you were Bill/Steve/Ray what company would you want to acquire?