Back in April I wrote a blog about what had happened to Acunu, the analytics for Cassandra vendor. There was circumstantial evidence that the company had been acquired by Apple. A reliable source has now confirmed to me that this is indeed the case. I should say, for the benefit of Apple’s lawyers, that I did not hear this from anybody who previously worked for Acunu, who appear to be being faithful to the omerta-like vow of silence that has been extracted from them. Chris Gomersall and Tim Moreton, for example, who both resigned as directors from Acunu last year, are both still listed as, respectively, the CEO and CTO of the company on LinkedIn, and there is no reflection of the fact that they are, presumably, working for other companies now. Unless they are lying on a beach somewhere.
So, why all the secrecy? Why has there been no public announcement of the acquisition? Why have all the Acunu employees been gagged? The short answer, according to my source, is that Apple acquired Acunu to use it internally (according to the latest reports it has 75,000 Cassandra nodes across multiple clusters), that the product is no longer available (it is no longer a product), that only the development staff from Acunu have been retained, and all support for what was the product has ceased (or will do so). This would explain why a number of former Acunu employees were not happy with the acquisition in the first place.
Of course, Apple is not the first company to demonstrate that it couldn’t give a toss about its customers (remember that Acunu users became its customers as soon as Apple acquired the company). I can think of several IT companies (well, one in particular) that couldn’t give a stuffed monkey for its customers, but that doesn’t make it any better. And being a fashion chain rather than an IT company doesn’t excuse Apple either: I’m sure it makes a big play about how it cares about its customers—every company does—but, assuming that my information is correct, the bottom line is that it demonstrably doesn’t.
Unfortunately, Apple is only one side of the coin. There’s also the fact that the directors of Acunu and its investors similarly (reportedly) let down Acunu’s customers. I can’t say I altogether blame them: no doubt they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse. Nevertheless, I would be wary of doing business with any company that they were involved with in the future: lightning sometimes does strike twice. In so far as the directors (you can easily find out their names through a company search) are concerned, I have no way of knowing who voted which way and it may well be that some voted against accepting Apple’s offer but were outvoted by other shareholders. Nevertheless, the nature of a limited company is that they bear corporate responsibility. For reference, investors included Eden Ventures, Oxford Technology Management and Pentech Ventures LLP.
So there you have it. I am not impressed. I have to say that I am glad that I have never used a Mac or bought an iAnything.