iWeb highlights the dangers of being an ISV

Yesterday, Apple introduce iLife ’06, which includes the new major component iWeb. From the pretty pictures on the Apple site, iWeb looks like a nice product. It’s nicely integrated with the other parts of iLife, making it easy to publish all of the “stuff” that you collect up digitally. As an independent software developer, though, I can really feel for the guys at Karelia. Their Sandvox website tool was set to enter beta soon. They moved up the beta as soon as they heard about iWeb, but iWeb’s emergence is going to make things very tough on them, I think.

Safari’s RSS support wasn’t really a risk for Zesty News. But, Zesty News is general enough that some large company could decide to target the same features Zesty does. The safest way to be an ISV is to go after a niche. But, unless you’re really into that niche, that’s certainly not the most fun way to be an ISV.

Update: it’s worth noting that a huge difference between Sandvox and iWeb is that iWeb only publishes to .Mac and Sandvox can publish to any web hosting company. That’s a big difference.

5 thoughts on “iWeb highlights the dangers of being an ISV”

  1. On the other hand, when one big company grabs your idea, it makes you that much more valuable to your competition.

    Say, Apple now has iWeb. Yahoo has also invested in hosting services and their complements (giving out WordPress/TypePad with hosting accounts). I think it could be good for Karelia, although definitely more risky.

    BTW, this exact scenario happened to Konfabulator.

  2. Thanks for pointing out this program. I hadn’t heard of it, but it looks pretty darn useful. iWeb is of no use to me, as I’m not interested in a .mac account. And at first glance, Karelia appears to do more as well.

  3. It’s a damn shame for Karelia, particularly since this is the second time that Apple has pulled the same trick. They developed Watson when Sherlock on the Mac was severely limited, only for Apple to release Serlock 3 (I think) which replicated much of Watson’s functionality. I’m not suggesting Apple is deliberately pissing on ISVs, but it’s difficult to have much empathy with a company which is so aggressive. Read the Karelia blog or the story of Audion for further illustrations…

  4. I noticed that when I read a bit more at Apple’s site. However, it looks like Sandvox will do SFTP/FTP transfers for you, whereas iWeb gives you a choice of 1) .Mac or 2) dump files to disk and transfer yourself. Sandvox is a little more automatic.

    The “SADvox” thing seems a bit low. You have to dig around to find out that .Mac is not required, so I’m not surprised that Karelia’s initial take said that.

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