The ramblings of paulsnar

Mozilla acquires Pocket to gain a foothold on mobile devices

◆ Permalink originally by Casey Newton

Okay, now that’s something I wasn’t expecting today.

So I know that Pocket and Mozilla share some history – Pocket started out as a Firefox extension, and then not that long ago there was some brouhaha about Firefox having a Pocket read-it-later button built in (which it actually still is, just checked). So buying Pocket isn’t all that surprising, actually, but I wasn’t quite sure that Mozilla was in the position to acquire anything at this point.

But as for the sale, I’ve got to agree with Stephen Hackett:

This follows Instapaper’s acquisition by Pinterest last year. It seems that read-it-later services just aren’t stand-alone businesses.

From having used some services for the past couple of years, I’ve made a conclusion that there are (or rather, were) three major read it later services: Readability, Instapaper and Pocket. And none of these three are standalone businesses anymore: Readability closed down last year, Instapaper’s been acquired 1 and now, Pocket has been acquired too. This indeed seems like a downward trend for these kinds of services, but well, at least Instapaper’s now free! Right, guys?

I wish them all the best, and not only because I actually do use their service and have a way too many articles saved there right now, but also because their product seems genuinely good from what I’ve dabbled with it.

Aside: The Verge article couldn’t go out without throwing a burn in Mozilla’s direction:

And unlike Mozilla’s existing mobile products, people seem to enjoy using it [Pocket].

Also an interesting tidbit from the Mozilla post on the same topic:

[…] and [Pocket] will become part of the Mozilla open source project.

Wonder what that means?

  1. Technically it was never really independent post-Marco, but I don’t care.