Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Blackborg Rides Again

Blackboard went on another buying spree today. Just a few random thoughts.
  • If Blackboard had purchased either Wimba or Elluminate, they could have spun it as a strategic business decision. By purchasing both of them, the only possible explanation is that it is another example of squelching innovation and limiting competition.
  • In Ray Henderson's blog post, he refers to both companies as "former rivals." Although it's true that Blackborg has some sort of a lame virtual classroom, synchronous tool (I believe they call it the Bb POS), very few people who work in educational technology would have seen Wimba as a rival of Blackboard. Or Elluminate. Hell, we barely see D2L or Moodle as rivals of Blackboard.
  • Maybe when you are the most hated company in the education sandbox, everyone seems like a rival to you.
  • Ray also says "We hear consistently from our clients that their online infrastructure and offerings have grown from important to mission critical." Apparently they stop listening when those clients follow that up with "However, the last thing we want is to have total vendor lock-in where we are completely dependent upon you and at your mercy (of which you have none)."
  • My favorite tweet of the day went something like this: "Blackboard Collaborate sounds so much nicer than Blackboard Conglomerate, Blackboard Cartel, or Blackboard Cabal"
  • It seems to me that buying Wimba would have been sufficient since it is more fully developed than Elluminate. However, by purchasing Elluminate they have effectively upset the partnership arrangements that Elluminate has with Desire2Learn eCollege, RemoteLearner (Moodle), and Unicon (Sakai). If you believe that Blackboard will really continue to "sustain this work and the partnerships," then you just haven't been paying attention.
To all the Bb lovers out there (you know who you are), I have one question:

Will you still be Blackboard lovers when they purchase Apollo (UofPhx), Kaplan, Capella, and others to complete their vertical integration into the education space?

3 comments:

Pat said...

For Blackboard, collaboration means to eliminate the competition. The acquisition of Elluminate and Wimba will dampen my interest in the products as I search for a synchronous tool for online course enhancement.

Mike Condon said...

Deja vu all over again for Carol Vallone (Wimba CEO/Chairman - formerly pres/CEO/Chairman @ WebCT)?

And Frankie (whose school runs Bb, and therefore uses it some) asks:

Do people love Bb? Who?

-mike

Snap said...

Just like people have been moving to Moodle, this will prompt many to move away from Wimba and Elluminate. For an open source alternative, check out http://bigbluebutton.org/