Since the sale of Instapaper by founder Marco Arment to Betaworks 4 months back, I’ve read quite a fair bit of people has since left the service.
The read later niche certainly is not short of quality options, with Pocket, Readability and even Safari’s in-built reading list are all worthy companions.
One man doesn’t make a company. The departure of Marco doesn’t mean Instapaper will turn out to be worse off after the sale. But such is some of his followers attachment to him that they are emotionally invested to the personal branding of the developer (and man), rather than the product (service). Many were worried about the future of Instapaper, and history showed they have a valid case. Acquisition in the tech field has seen more products being cast aside or killed off totally, rather than building on the product and make it even more attractive.
Now, a new beta of Instapaper was unveiled and the design is great. Clean, modern and unobstructive. It’s like going to the same bar after a renovation. The font has been bumped up and the line height is increased. It feels a little like reading articles off Medium. The essence of what makes the service so popular is left untouched, while aesthetically it has been refined and other details has been fined tuned as well. The engine running in the background continues to render the articles superbly.
This is what Marco said, on the day of the sale of Instapaper:
With Betaworks’ drive and resources now behind it, I’m confident that Instapaper has a very bright future. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.
And this is what he recently said on the new redesign:
This is why I sold it: this is way better than anything I could have done for Instapaper in a few months.
With a new version of iOS app in the pipeline, and many other improvements in plan, it’s going to be an exciting roadmap ahead for Instapaper. I look forward to what Betaworks can bring to the scene, and once the changes are rolled out, I’m sure a new benchmark will be set. As other brands improve upon their own products and services, the bar for the industry will be raised and customers stand to benefit.
So, it shows that not all acquisitions are bad.