Microsoft acquires Onfolio - great for IE users

Microsoft acquires Onfolio - great for IE users

Summary: The announcement today that Microsoft has acquired Onfolio and will roll that company's information aggregation technology into a new Windows Live Toolbar which will be released today is great news - if you're an Internet Explorer user. Firefox fans are out of luck.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Browser
1
Onfolio is a terrific product that added a sidebar to both Internet Explorer or Firefox and also functioned as a standalone desktop application. Using Onfolio, it was possible to subscribe to and organize RSS feeds, grab content, pages, or even entire sites from the web, add content from e-mails and Office docs and search against that information store in powerful ways. Onfolio Professional added powerful tools for creating and publishing reports that could shared with others in a number of formats.

I write all of this in the past tense because, as of today, Onfolio is no longer a product you can buy. The acquisition closes the door for Firefox users in terms of any future development for those who already use Onfolio and slams it in the face of those who missed the boat on purchasing a license to use it. All future development of Onfolio's core technology will be focused on enhancing the about-to-be-released Windows Live Toolbar (due later today).

It's a bold, even inspired move on Microsoft's part and adds substantial value and excitement to the Live offering, especially coming so close on the heels of Ray Ozzie's discussion yesterday about Windows Live Clipboard. But it's a total bummer for Firefox users. I'm sure the software-should-be-free Stallmanites will argue that it's no big deal - there are 11,422 extensions for Firefox that can do some of what Onfolio offered but nothing I've seen in the free space came close to the elegance and careful attention to detail that typified the Onfolio product.

I interviewed JJ Allaire, the force behind Onfolio, last year at DEMO and he said something I have never forgotten. He told me he took it as a mission to create an entire UI in 200 pixels so he sweated every one of those pixels. As a UI maven, I just love hearing that kind of focus and commitment to quality.

So, congrats to JJ, Sebastian, Spike, Mike, and the rest of the Onfolio team. Kudos to Microsoft for a really smart acquisition. And condolences to Firefox users who, as of today, lose an excellent tool provided by a company that set a great example of how cross-browser support can be done right. Scoble's excited (he should be). Buzz is too. So am I. But I can't help but feel more than a little regret at the same time.

Topic: Browser

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nice business move

    This is a great business move that will ultimately be beneficial for most all users where used in the ad based model.
    April May