Mobile // Mobile Applications
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11/1/2006
12:35 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Is DIY Dying At Google?

For the second time this month, Google has ordered out for innovation. On Tuesday, Google said it had acquired JotSpot, a maker of collaborative online applications. Earlier in October, Google acquired YouTube, the leading online video community site.

For the second time this month, Google has ordered out for innovation. On Tuesday, Google said it had acquired JotSpot, a maker of collaborative online applications. Earlier in October, Google acquired YouTube, the leading online video community site.It's no doubt a smart buy for Google. Beyond the defensive value of keeping a credible software-as-a-service provider out of the hands of the competition, the deal will help Google find a paying audience for its own software-as-a-service offerings, currently anchored by the free Google Docs & Spreadsheets. JotSpot, free at the basic level, has 30,000 customers and 2,000 companies such as British Telecom, Intel, and Symantec paying for higher tiers of service. That's how revenue stream diversification begins.

What's less clear is whether Google's vaunted innovation engine is running low on fuel (or being throttled back—Google recently said it intended to focus more on improving existing products than launching new ones). It may be that time is of the essence and Google has to act quickly before the market's infatuation with the company fades. That's certainly preferable to the possibility that for all its internal engineering talent, it can't build what it can buy.

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