On April 26, 2011, Tungle.me CEO Marc Gingras announced via the company’s blog that the Montreal-based outfit had been bought out by Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry. For BlackBerry, this represents yet another buy in its steady line of acquisitions over the past few quarters. Analysts see this strategy as a response to BlackBerry’s loss of market share in the face of hot competition from Google Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 smartphone platforms. According to a recent Nielsen consumer survey, BlackBerry is only the third most coveted type of smartphone, falling behind the iPhone and Android smartphones. This, in spite of the fact that BlackBerry still has a 14+% market share worldwide. Research in Motion has also entered the tablet space, which is crowded by the same developers. It’s offering—the BlackBerry PlayBook—runs on a QNX-based mobile operating system. PlayBook has sold well, but has received a fair amount of criticism.
All of this informs the discussions that are swirling about the fate of Tungle.me. In an environment where even brilliant and beloved web apps and software as a service companies struggle to survive after the first few rounds of venture capital, the fact that Tungle.me has been taken under the wing of a historically solid international company is heartening. And in spite of what some of the naysayers have predicted, the future looks promising for BlackBerry, even in spite of the buzz and fuss over iPhone and Android. If anything, the stiff challenge that Android has posed for iPhone has revealed that the Cupertino-based smartphone giant does indeed have a chink in its armor. Windows Phone 7, meanwhile, has proven that even a platform as obscure ad Windows Mobile can have new life. And given that BlackBerry has a much more rabid following than WiMo ever has (whoever thought that “CrackBerry” would enter the international lexicon?), it’s clear that BlackBery hasn’t sung its last song yet.
Verdict: This acquisition is good news both for Tungle and Research in Motion.
For the uninitiated, Tungle.me is an easy-to-use scheduling service that lets you share your calendar publically either by showing your events or merely showing your availability. It makes scheduling meetings with multiple attendees incredibly easy, eliminating the tedious back and forth that usually goes on when trying to coordinate meeting times. Microsoft Outlook users who’ve used the Outlook calendar to schedule meetings and appointments within the office will be familiar with the concept. But what makes Tungle.me different is its ecumenical approach to scheduling. You don’t need to have be a Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, MobileMe or LotusNotes user in order to get powerful scheduling tools from Tungle. In fact, you don’t even need to be a Tungle user in order to respond to or initiate scheduling request with Tungle users. In a world where you’re being asked to register at practically every turn, Tungle.me’s laidback attitude is truly refreshing.
Tungle.me already has an iPhone app and a BlackBerry app. They are working on an Android app. Hopefully, they’ll continue developing it, in spite of its alignment with the makers of BlackBerry. No matter what, it seems that now’s a good time to give Tungle.me a try. Visit http://www.tungle.me to sign up for free.