New Owner Automattic’s Impact on amidst Apple’s Beeper Crackdown

But things are now starting to shift again back to the open web, Mullenweg believes. With, he saw an opportunity to invest in another area where consumers are pushing for more openness: messaging. As for, Mullenweg saw the acquisition as a way to move into a third major market beyond publishing and commerce. “I thought that we had a lot of ideas to build, and Automattic seemed like the right place,” Bagaria added. Competitor Beeper recently made its iMessage-on-Android app Beeper Mini free as it does battle with Apple, which has been working to shut down its service.

After months of speculation, has a new future ahead. The all-in-one messaging app was acquired by Automattic, the owner of, for a whopping $50 million this fall. This move marks Automattic’s first official foray into the world of private messaging, a shift from their usual startup investments such as the recent Beeper and Element apps.

Similar to Beeper, aims to disrupt Apple’s stronghold on their iMessage ecosystem by aggregating chats from various messaging services like WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Messenger, LinkedIn, Signal, Slack, Discord, and more in the future, according to the company. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg and founder Kishan Bagaria sat down for their first joint interview post-acquisition to discuss what led to this significant move, the state of the social web, and what’s next for under Automattic’s umbrella.

“Technology got kind of closed for a while. The pendulum is now swinging very hard in the other direction towards more open [standards], which I’m excited about because that is that’s the part of the cycle I like the best.”

— Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg

Mullenweg pointed out how closed ecosystems have emerged with the rise of smartphones and their app stores, which do not operate on open standards like the web. This gave big tech companies like Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), and TikTok’s ByteDance immense power in the ad-supported market. However, the pendulum is now shifting back towards the open web, as seen through the resurgence of platforms like Tumblr and WordPress.

Mullenweg believes investing in was a natural progression towards this shift to a more open web. The app, which touts end-to-end encryption, is “fully compatible with all the business models of the messaging platforms,” he pointed out, subtly challenging the viewpoint of Apple and others. He firmly believes that there’s no reason for messaging platforms not to support fully.

Bagaria, the founder of, initially created the app as a personal side project. The first prototype was completed in just a week, but as more people started sharing the same frustrations with managing multiple messaging apps, it quickly gained traction. With a small amount of funding of about a million from 34 investors, Bagaria focused on being efficient and conservative with’s burn rate.

When discussing possible acquisitions, Bagaria revealed that both OpenAI and Superhuman had reached out, but it was the conversation with Matt that made him consider an acquisition. Initially, Bagaria wanted to acquire other companies and expand’s offerings, but Automattic seemed like the perfect fit.

The company is now considering a freemium model for the app, which currently costs $15 per month (or $12.50/mo for an annual subscription) to access all messaging services. In contrast, competitor Beeper recently made their iMessage-on-Android app Beeper Mini free while fighting with Apple. However, Mullenweg defended, stating that everything they do is in line with App Store guidelines. The real test of this statement will come when releases their mobile app to the public, something Mullenweg says will happen “soon.”

According to Mullenweg, the acquisition of could have a more significant impact on Automattic’s future than their online publishing ventures. Messaging is a universal form of communication, with an opportunity to reach billions of people. And with the push for more openness in messaging platforms, there has never been a better time for a service like to exist.

“Think about it. Not everyone publishes, but everyone messages. We have the opportunity to actually create something that can touch literally hundreds of millions and billions of people…there has never been a better time for something like to exist.”

— Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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