“That doesn’t mean that the developers for Konfabulator and Watson feel any better about having their market pulled out from under them.”
Watson’s developer got shafted both ways – he sold Watson to Sun, theoretically to develop a similar Java-based app, but in the end Sun, as always in acquisitions, has ended up dropping the ball and ending the project.
So Watson’s users are out of luck.
I wonder what’s worse. On the one hand, it can’t be nice to have Apple put out a similar, competing, free product.
On the other hand, it can’t be nice to work hard building up a product and a user base, and then have it summarily executed by the acquirer.
In the Apple scenario, at least you still control your own software. If you can innovate, you may still be able to compete. Otherwise, you can give it away, open-source it, whatever. At least it’s still a living piece of work, with your name on it, rather than just a forgotten, dusty folder in Sun’s file cabinet.
In the Sun scenario, you get some cash, but the app dies. Your userbase is out of luck. If you have any great ideas for new features, you have to just sigh wistfully at what might have been.