Google's New Strategy: Buy Competitor, Kill Competitor
The Google-Apple war gets even uglier on the iPhone.
While it may not be considered Apple's (AAPL) first-born, the startup behind one of iPhone's more useful apps was bought out by Google (GOOG) and promptly killed, leaving a hole in the App Store where a handy feature once stood.
The acquired company, reMail, provided a third-party email client as an alternative to iPhone's default and somewhat lacking app. ReMail compressed and stored a user's messages on the device, which allowed for offline searches at a far quicker rate. And unlike the iPhone app, reMail provides full text search and isn't confined just to the subjects.
But for those who didn't download it already, you're out of luck.
ReMail was launched last August and founded by Gabor Cselle who, coincidentally, was a former Google employee and developer on the Gmail team. Cselle's backers were also Gmail alumni -- Paul Buchheit and Sanjeev Singh -- who designed Google's web app and then went on to co-found the social media aggregator, FriendFeed.
In his blog, Cselle writes that he's "thrilled" over the buyout and goes into detail on reMail's discontinuation:
You might be wondering what will happen with reMail's product. Google and reMail have decided to discontinue reMail's iPhone application, and we have removed it from the App Store. ReMail is an application on your phone. If you already have reMail, it will continue to work. We'll even provide support for you until the end of March, and we've enabled all paid reMail features for you: You can activate these by clicking "Restore Purchases" inside the app. ReMail downloads email directly from your email provider to your phone, and your personal information, passwords, and email are never sent to or stored on our servers.
Cselle adds, "Google is the best place in the world to improve the status quo on how people communicate and share information." Looks like Google just won back a loyal employee.
Like the terms of the deal, it's unknown if the technology behind reMail will be implemented at all in Gmail or Android's mobile version. Also debatable is the main motive of the acquisition: to get Cselle back on board -- this time as a Gmail product manager -- or to deliver Apple another app store blow of its own. (See Google Voice Sneaks Onto iPhones.)
Google felt the brunt of Apple's App Store tyranny, having Google Voice and Google Latitude denied from its hallowed digital halls. But with the recent Google Voice workaround and reMail's removal, Google has levied some brutal retaliation.
The Google-Apple War continues.
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