free html hit counter Yahoo Buys Widget Maker - John Battelle's Search Blog

Yahoo Buys Widget Maker

By - July 25, 2005

TopJeff McManus of Yahoo emailed me to tell me of the deal. Konfabulator makes cool widgets for the Mac OS. I’ve asked him to expand on the deal for me, will update as it comes in.

Now, I don’t want to go off on too much of a Web OS riff here, but this sure smells a lot like the late 80s, when small, interesting utility companies were being bought (or destroyed) by MSFT. These days, folks are building companies to sell them to Yahoo, Google, and MSFT. It’s good to have three options … more like five, really, with AOL and IAC. Picasa, Keyhole, Konfabulator, Bloglines….

Update: First off, I was reminded by a cast of thousands that Konfabulator works with Windows too. Sorry. And Jeff has this to say in response to my question:

So the plan is to make Konfabulator free (which we did on Monday), to expand the audience for widgets from thousands to millions. Next step is to do more to support and expand the already-tremendous developer community that this product has attracted, and greatly extend the number of widgets powered by Yahoo! (and the APIs that make them possible). This will make Yahoo! better for users because it will let us go beyond the browser, creating an always-on user experience that lets you get to your Yahoo! data in a way that makes sense to you.

Thanks, Jeff!

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3 thoughts on “Yahoo Buys Widget Maker

  1. mneptok says:

    Looks like Yahoo! will be giving away Konfabulator for free, and offering a full refund to anyone that paid for the 2.0 version of the product.

    From the Konfabulator site:

    Let’s just get this out of the way… Konfabulator is now free. Yup. If you download version 2.1 you know what you’ll never ever see? That’s right a registration reminder. Fear not, there’s nothing sneaky in there, no spyware, no ads, nothing that’s keeping track of information and sending it to us… it’s pure, uncut Konfabulator goodness.

    Now, we can currently hear the cries of all those people who’ve recently purchased Konfabulator. Fear not, people, for you will be given the gift of a refund if you purchased Konfabulator 2.0 or later. Revel in the glory of it.

    Free “Dashboard” for Windows and MacOS X (pre Tiger) users. Smart move, Yahoo!. Now, bake me a Linux verison. 🙂

  2. Anthony Eden says:

    To clarify, Konfabulator works on both Windows and MacOS, not just MacOS as the original post states.

  3. Doug Mehus says:

    I agree that this is a good move for Yahoo! to buy a maker of an architecture to allow third-party developers to develop small tools, or “widgets”, in a community-type environment. It’s even better news for Pixoria, Inc., owner of Konfabulator (though, I’d love to hear the purchase price).

    What concerns me is that by buying (and making free) Konfabulator, is Yahoo! going to be sacrificing some of its Web network hits and unique visitors to access its content through these these desktop “widgets” sans advertising? Perhaps, but if they distribute only say, news headlines through the “widgets” that link to the full-text story on Yahoo! News then it might actually increase its traffic. Nonetheless, only time will tell if there is a small to modest revenue drop…

    Anyway, interesting times in which we live. Expect already-heady M&A activity in the Internet services and e-commerce sectors to pick up immensely throughout August and September.