Monday, March 08, 2010

The Blackboard Juggernaut Keeps Rolling

They bought competitors WebCT and Angel and they crippled competitor Desire2Learn with a costly lawsuit. More recently, they purchased an up-and-coming mobile development company. Now they're buying a mobile messaging company. I'm not happy about this, but I think it's a brilliant strategy by Blackboard. They are consolidating the LMS-market - moving from being the dominant Learning Management System to the only commercial LMS left standing. Can you say monopoly? In addition to that consolidation, Blackboard is working to control the entire ecosystem that surrounds their LMS - mobile apps and mobile messaging. In the end, they will be able to offer an entire portfolio of products to customers - really an entire system that no one else will be able to compete with. Not good for consumers and not good for continued innovation. Maybe they'll buy SecondLife next.

Blackboard Buys Mobile Messaging Company Saf-T-Net For $33 Million
Blackboard, a company that designs an education software for school groups, has acquired mobile messaging provider Saf-T-Net for $33 million. Saf-T-Net develops AlertNow, which is a mobile messaging technology aimed to the K-12 marketplace.

AlertNow’s technology delivers voice, e-mail and emergency SMS messages at a rate up to 2.5 million per hour to parents, students and school administrators. The company, which sent 25 million message in February alone, has over 2000 schools using its product and will be used to Blackboard’s mobile technology. Saf-T-Net will also help Blackboard further its dominance in the the K-12 market; Blackboard’s software has been used predominantly by colleges and universities.

Currently, Blackboard provides software for 5000 educational institutions. The company recently boughtTerriblyCleverDesigns, a startup that helped create iPhone and other mobile apps for colleges and universities, for $4 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since Blackboard spends so much on product development already shouldn't this acquisition allow them to further enhance the technology since small technology companies that aren't as well capitalized don't have as much $$ to spend on innovation? Apple or Microsoft could easily compete more evenly with Blackboard if they wanted to, but they choose not to enter a lucrative market. Is Desire 2 Learn really crippled? I think D2L would disagree with the premise of your argument that BBBB getting bigger is bad for competition.


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