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Motorola Acqu-Hires Cappucccino Developers

08.26.2010
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Several months ago, Motorola decided to cut the entire corporation in two.  The organization was beginning to lose its agility because of the wide variety of technologies that it researches and sells.  Out of that decision, we will see the handset division spin off into its own company called Motorola Mobility.     

In an effort to distinguish itself from the number of other Android handset makers, Motorola needs to go from being just another hardware vendor for carriers and cable companies, to a company like Apple, with software and services based on its hardware.  This week the company just took a big step towards that goal by acquiring 280 North, the startup that built Cappuccino.

Cappuccino is an open source web framework for building desktop-like web apps without the complexities of traditional web technologies like HTML, CSS, or even the DOM.  It offers the desktop APIs from Cocoa and GNUStep to render desktop apps into the browser.  280 North created Objective-J, a superset of JavaScript that adds Objective-C features, in order to build Cappuccino. 

Motorola says it plans to add to the Android ecosystem with Cappuccino's technology.  Now that the company is heavily invested Android, they have tried to differentiate themselves from other Android handset vendors by building interesting UIs and push services.  They recently shut down the 'Blur' push service project because of bad user experience.  Now that Motorola has a team with real web design and social network building skills, they may try again to establish a popular push infrastructure.

Motorola reportedly acquired 280 North for an estimated $20 million, but the terms of the deal were never disclosed.  The interesting thing to watch will be how Motorola plans to accommodate and retain the talented development team they just hired.  It's quite possible that we could see an Oracle-effect with developers fresh from a startup experiencing company culture shock.  Motorola, the company that invented Six Sigma, promises to be a very different work experience.  

We'll keep an eye on how this move effects the intense competition between Android handset makers, who have essentially abandoned the Open Handset Alliance that Google tried to set up.

Cappuccino is currently at version 0.8 and licensed under the LGPL.