It looks like Evernote's 2020 redesign wasn't enough to keep it independent. Today, the former darling notetaking app for productivity hounds, which was once valued at 1 billion dollars, announced that it has been purchased by Bending Spoons. If that name sounds unfamiliar to you, you're not alone. It's a Milan-based developer behind mobile apps like the video editor Splice, and the AI image editing tool Remini. They look like well-designed and genuinely useful apps, but they're far from Evernote's once lofty goal of helping you to remember everything.
In a blog post, Evernote CEO Ian Small said the company is currently testing out collaborative editing between multiple users, and it's close to launching beta tests for deep Office 365 calendar integration. While that's good to hear, especially for the few remaining Evernote addicts like this reporter, those are also features that have existed in other platforms for years. It may also be tough to convince friends and colleagues to collaborate on an Evernote document — which may involve signing up for an account and learning a new interface — when Google Docs has made that simple for years.
"While ownership is changing hands, our commitment to keeping your data safe and secure remains as steadfast as ever, and the Evernote you know and love will continue to thrive," Smalls said in the post. "Joining Bending Spoons allows us to take advantage of their proven app expertise and wide range of proprietary technologies."
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. But the fact that Evernote was purchased by a small app firm, rather than a notable tech giant, may be telling. Evernote raised nearly $300 million during the initial hype cycle around mobile apps. But the company eventually lost focus, branching out to real-world products like a smart notebook with Moleskin. Its apps were incredibly buggy for years, and it did a poor job of convincing users to actually pay for its product.
Somehow, I stuck with it though. I have over a decade's worth of notes living in Evernote — countless news stories, interviews (with their accompanying audio), reviews and PDFs. My attempts at finding replacements have typically ended in failure (sorry OneNote, I just don't like your editor). This acquisition isn't exactly the death knell for Evernote, but it certainly feels like the end of an era. Will my data be safe under a new owner? Can I rely on fast and accurate synchronization? I'll probably stick around for a bit longer, but all of a sudden, the alternatives are looking a lot more compelling.