The Six Apart announcement that they acquired a major Movable Type design firm have sparked some reactions. Personally, I’ve been debating whether I should look into Movable Type or not, now that it’s available in an open-source license and everything. Prior to that, it wasn’t an option for me, I like my platforms to be open.
Anyway, the launch of Six Apart Services, a branch that will offer Movable Type development and design, makes me even more cautious of moving into this sphere. A Six Apart branded firm will be very hard, if not impossible, to compete with.
I think Mike Rundle is pretty much spot on in his post on the matter. He notes that he’s always preferred Movable Type to WordPress, which is interesting since 9rules is pretty much WordPress powered, with bbPress being the Notes section, but that’s beside the point.
When Anil Dash says that this acquisition will grow the market for Movable Type consulting, I believe him. However the acquisition of Apperceptive lets Six Apart reel in a larger part of those consulting projects, leaving less fish for everyone else to eat. Six Apart has been working hard on building their developer community up to match the one surrounding WordPress, and I really can’t see this as a something that developers would appreciate.
I’m definitely in agreement with his thoughts here, albeit me being an outsider and not at all involved in the Movable Type community. I think a company that produces a platform that they want others to work with, should be very careful not to mess with the developers. You don’t see many serious Microsoft Office competitors, do you?
This might be a great idea for Six Apart, and great business as well. I don’t think this is something that will be the fall of the company or anything. However, there is a huge risk that it’s putting developers and designers off, should Six Apart Services be taking a chunk of the cake from them. I can only look to myself here. Despite the informative tutorials, and my urge to give MTOS a go, I find myself waiting yet again. First I waited for the open-source release, and now I’m waiting to see what Six Apart Services would mean for me as a designer.
I don’t want to compete with Automattic on WordPress any more than I want to compete with Six Apart on Movable Type.
Is Six Apart Services a smart move for Six Apart, and what will the implications be?
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.