Automattic Acquires Beeper, Will Merge With Texts

Eric Migicovsky:

If you haven’t heard of Beeper before, welcome! We make a universal chat app — one app to send and receive messages on 14 different chat networks. You might have also heard about Beeper Mini, our briefly available iMessage-on-Android app.

While the Beeper Mini/iMessage thing is where Beeper garnered, by far, the most publicity, it was always a sideshow from their primary goal of building a universal messaging app for multiple (14!) platforms. Think of it like a modern-day Adium.

In many ways, our journey has only just begun. Beeper has just over 115,000 users and was, until today, in beta. Given the state of the messaging landscape today, we believe there is a huge opportunity for us to push boundaries and create new experiences in chat. The majority of other chat apps have stagnated, entrenched in their positions, with no significant new players emerging since Discord’s launch in 2015. Given the state of the messaging world, we’ve long felt the need for a strong ally with the resources to support us on our quest. Automattic has a long history of putting user control and privacy first with open source, and great bilateral relationships with Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Matrix and others that we hope can usher in a new era of collaboration. [...]

This is a big bet. Automattic is doubling down on chat after their acquisition last year of, a messaging app with a similar mission. Our teams and products will merge, and I will take on the role leading the team as Head of Messaging. It will take a bit of time for us to integrate and combine forces under the Beeper brand. We’ve got big plans!

I’d describe as having not just a similar mission as Beeper, but the exact same mission. I’ve been using Texts on my Mac as my primary interface to Twitter/X DMs for over a year (since Twitter shut down third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific). I don’t get a ton of Twitter DMs, and I get fewer now than ever before, but Texts offers a better interface to them than Twitter/X itself does. I also have my Instagram, WhatsApp, and Signal accounts connected to Texts. If I used any of those platforms heavily, I’d rely on their dedicated apps. But I don’t, so a universal messaging inbox is better. I’m more interested in having one central place to check than anything else for those platforms.

Now that I’ve tried Beeper for Mac (connecting Twitter/X, WhatsApp, Signal, Instagram, and Slack accounts) — it’s remarkable how similar it is to Texts. They’re both Electron/React apps, and both suffer from a lot of Electron-isms. (What in the world is going on with the keyboard shortcuts in the contextual menu for the text editing field?) Both are just big bloated Electron web apps pretending, by appearance, to be Mac apps. I feel like they should be merged, not that we’re losing a competition that offered a choice between two different approaches. Beeper might have some unique tech but Texts is by far a better app on the Mac.

As for iMessage, here’s Matt Mullenweg:

A lot of people are asking about iMessage on Android… I have zero interest in fighting with Apple, I think instead it’s best to focus on messaging networks that want more engagement from power-user clients. This is an area I’m excited to work on when I return from my sabbatical next month.


Thursday, 11 April 2024