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Messaging app Beeper is acquired in a bid for regulatory change| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Pager, the app that brought iPhone messaging features to Android smartphoneshas been acquired by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, to support the development of a single service for sending and receiving chats from WhatsApp, Signal, LinkedIn and others.

The deal, valued at about $125 million, was announced Tuesday. comes as regulators in europe and the United States are putting pressure on the largest technology companies to open their messaging services to third parties. Regulators believe doing so will make it easier for people to communicate with friends and family and switch messaging providers.

Automattic is betting that the changing regulatory environment will make people more interested in finding a unified messaging system like Beeper, said Toni Schneider, Automattic's interim chief executive.

Beeper is Automattic's second messaging services acquisition. Last year it bought Texts, an iPhone app that brings together messages from Instagram, iMessage and others. Schneider said Beeper and Texts employees would combine their systems into a single app that would work on iPhone and Android smartphones as well as computers.

“Everyone has the problem of saying, 'I know I had this conversation with this person, but I don't remember where,'” Schneider said. “We think we can innovate a lot in this space.”

Eric Migicovsky, co-founder of Beeper in 2020, said Beeper and Texts would offer their combined service this year. The teams that built those companies will meet in two weeks in Portugal to begin that process.

“The real thing we've been competing against was apathy toward new experiences in chat,” Migicovsky said.

Last year, Beeper launched an app that offered Android phone users the ability to send encrypted messages and high-resolution videos to iPhones. The application added more than 100,000 users in three days before Apple blocked it by changing your iMessage system.

Although a Justice Department lawsuit accusing Apple of maintaining an iPhone monopoly did not specifically refer to Beeper, the issues highlighted by Beeper's conflict with Apple were mentioned in the complaint, which was filed in March. The department blamed Apple for making “iPhone users less secure than they would otherwise be” by “rejecting solutions” for smartphone messaging like those provided by Beeper.

Beeper will soon be open to anyone who wants to download it after a trial period that limited the app to about 100,000 users, Migicovsky said. The company had 466,000 people on a waiting list. About 60 percent of its users use Android smartphones.

Automattic was an early investor in Beeper, which had raised $16 million from investors including Y Combinator and Initialized Capital, Migicovsky said. Last week, Beeper's 27 employees officially began working at their new company.


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