Automattic’s Acquisition Of And The Future Of Messaging


Automattic, the owner of, recently made waves in the tech industry with its acquisition of the all-in-one messaging app,, for a whopping $50 million. This move marks Automattic’s first foray into the world of private messaging, signaling a significant expansion beyond its traditional domains of publishing and commerce. The acquisition has sparked curiosity about the future direction of under its new ownership, particularly in light of the escalating competition and regulatory landscape within the messaging space.

Key Takeaway

Automattic’s acquisition of signals a strategic pivot into the messaging space, driven by a commitment to openness, user control, and privacy. The move reflects a broader industry trend towards interoperability and regulatory responsiveness, positioning as a disruptive force in the competitive messaging landscape.

The Shift Towards Openness in Messaging

In a joint interview, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg and founder Kishan Bagaria shed light on the strategic rationale behind the acquisition and the broader trends shaping the messaging landscape. Mullenweg emphasized the growing momentum towards openness in technology, highlighting the resurgence of platforms like Tumblr and WordPress that are emblematic of a shift back to open standards. He underscored the need for more open and interoperable messaging platforms, positioning as a challenger to the closed ecosystems maintained by tech giants, particularly Apple.

Embracing User Control and Privacy

Mullenweg’s vision for aligns with a fundamental belief in communication as a human right. He emphasized the importance of free, encrypted, and user-controlled communication, positioning as a platform that prioritizes user autonomy and privacy. Notably, the app operates entirely on the user’s device and is designed to be fully compatible with various messaging platforms, challenging the prevailing business models in the industry.

Regulatory Implications and Market Dynamics

The acquisition of also reflects a strategic response to the evolving regulatory landscape, particularly in the EU, where forthcoming regulations like the Digital Markets Act (DMA) are poised to mandate messaging interoperability. Mullenweg hinted at the potential impact of such legislation on the messaging space, signaling a proactive stance in anticipation of regulatory changes. Additionally, the acquisition positions Automattic to navigate the growing scrutiny of Big Tech and mobile platforms in the U.S., as policymakers explore new avenues for antitrust oversight.

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