Seattle’s Loss: DocVerse Bought by Google (Maybe as a Bridge to Microsoft)

3/5/10Follow @gthuang

It’s the second notable Google acquisition in these parts, coming on the heels of Seattle-based Picnik getting bought by the search giant earlier this week. DocVerse, a collaborative-document software startup founded in the Seattle area in 2007 by former Microsofties and MIT alums Shan Sinha and Alex DeNeui, has been acquired by Google, according to a company blog post. Financial terms of the deal weren’t announced.

Here’s the catch, from a Seattle perspective. DocVerse moved to San Francisco in the summer of 2008, mostly because its founders thought the Bay Area is the best place to grow a successful startup, and its investors were there. It’s hard to argue with their results. (Sinha gave Xconomy four reasons why the San Francisco area is for startups like what Hollywood is for moviemakers.)

In a blog post today, Sinha talks about the deal and the culture fit between DocVerse and Google—a bit similar to Picnik CEO Jonathan Sposato’s comments on “how Google works” from earlier this week. “What impresses us the most about the Google team is that they all share the same philosophy—giving people the tools to work the way they want. From the moment we started talking with them, it was clear that there was a lot of shared DNA in how we approached solving people’s problems,” Sinha writes. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to scale our vision at Google. Our first step will be to combine DocVerse with Google Apps to create a bridge between Microsoft Office and Google Apps.”

This last bit is intriguing, from a big-company perspective. DocVerse’s software enables Web-based collaboration within Microsoft Office staples like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. One question is whether Google really cares about the DocVerse product as a way to connect Office with Google Docs—or compete better with Office—or whether it’s just buying talent at this point. You can read the official Google blog post here.

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. Follow @gthuang

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