Today, development stopped on Pulp, Wallet, and Sparrow as their companies were bought by Facebook and Google, respectively.
Both appear to be “talent acquisitions”: the companies were bought primarily to get their staff to work for the new parent company, not because the new parent company wanted to own and continue their products. Usually, the purchased products are shut down shortly after talent acquisitions, or they’re not included in the deal and are simply abandoned.
A talent acquisition is effectively a job offer with a large signing bonus.
Instapaper has had multiple similar inquiries from large companies over the last few years. We’ve never gotten very far in talks because I don’t want Instapaper to shut down, I don’t want to move my family across the country, and they didn’t want to pay enough — for them, they’ll pay a premium to hire me, but they won’t pay much for a service they’ll shut down immediately and an app they’ll throw away.
I was only able to reject those offers because Instapaper is a healthy business, and the life that Instapaper provides for me and my family is better than what the big companies offered.
If you want to keep the software and services around that you enjoy, do what you can to make their businesses successful enough that it’s more attractive to keep running them than to be hired by a big tech company.