Crashlytics Buys FireTower, Gears Up for WWDC Bash as Post-PC Era Dawns

6/6/12Follow @gthuang

It’s not always the terms of an acquisition that make it interesting. Sometimes it’s the stuff going on around it. That’s usually the case for young, fast-moving fields of technology and business that have yet to coalesce into something stable.

And that’s a good thing, because I can’t tell you all that much about the Crashlytics acquisition of FireTower App, which is being announced today. No financial terms, no number of employees joining the Crashlytics team, not even a time frame for integrating the technologies. It sounds like the deal is just for the technology and intellectual property, though.

Crashlytics is the Cambridge, MA-based mobile-bug-fixing startup led by techies Wayne Chang and Jeff Seibert. FireTower is also based in the Boston area, and is pretty young (around a year old); its original creator is Aaron White, the co-founder of ed-tech startup Boundless Learning. From what I gather, FireTower’s software helps developers detect errors and bugs in Javascript code for Web apps, and then helps them manage the errors via a dashboard. So the combination seems to give Crashlytics a boost in supporting HTML5 and mobile Web developers, in addition to mobile apps on Apple’s iOS platform.

This is the first acquisition for Crashlytics, but it sounds like it won’t be the last. “We think there’s going to be a consolidation coming on the horizon,” says Chang. “We want to be one of the consolidators, and make sure we get the best talent and technology.” He adds, “We’re trying to make sure we make a huge impact on the developer community. We really, really think hard about what it is they really want.”

According to Chang, an undisclosed competitor made an offer to buy FireTower before Crashlytics swooped in and won the deal. There were “heated” negotiations over the course of a couple months, he says. “The space we’re in is heating up.”

Just to remind you, all this activity isn’t just about mobile apps or crash reporting. It’s about the much more pervasive notion of “empowering post-PC development,” Chang says. In other words, if your technology becomes crucial to mobile and Web developers, you put yourself in a position to own a big slice of the software development industry of the future. That is Crashlytics’ plan, anyway.

And to get there, Chang and Seibert have to stay very close to the developer community. Next week, on the evening of June 11, they are hosting a party to (unofficially) kick off the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), at the W Hotel in San Francisco. As of yesterday, the bash had 600-plus RSVPs—including developers from Apple, Facebook, Path, and Yelp—and Chang says that number could double or even triple by Monday.

Sounds like a very fun and productive opportunity for the Crashlytics guys. Let’s just hope they come back.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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