I got the notice last night that Parse, the ‘backend-as-a-service’ company, a unit of Facebook, is being discontinued. Sigh.
I’ve used it in a couple of apps – notifications, user-content storage, shared document downloads – and sadly, I’ll have a year to figure out how to remove the code and replace it with another service. Why did this happen?
First of all, why did Facebook buy Parse? I think Facebook thought the BAAS business was going to be a huge market for them. They, like any company in the Valley it seems, need engineers and 100 are better than 10. Purchasing Parse in the first place add 100 engineers on the Facebook payroll (I believe it was about that big when acquired). These people had skills that aligned well with Facebook’s needs or eventual needs. Similar to Facebook backend engineers, these engineers are multi-platform (client-device-OS-agnostic), large-scale operations-oriented, used to working as a team and serving customers (other engineers) at a time when these skills a critical resource requirement for the fast growing Facebook. It was a ‘land-grab’.
But, because of the terms of the deal, Facebook couldn’t shut the business down and put the engineering team to work on Facebook internal priorities right away. They’d have to bide their time and integrate these folks and technologies slowly over time.
Ding. Times’ up. Payouts have been made, contracts completed and competitive development (by Apple and others) consumed the remaining market demand.
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