Google Acquires iOS/Mac Email Client Sparrow, Apps To Remain Available But Development Stopped

Google just acquired Sparrow, the company behind the popular iOS and OS X email client. The company’s team, says Sparrow CEO Dom Leca, will be joining Google’s Gmail team “to accomplish a bigger vision – one that we think we can better achieve with Google.” Sparrow raised a small seed round of funding from French VC firm Kima Ventures in 2011 but did not take any other outside investments since. Neither Google nor Sparrow disclosed the financial details of the acquisition.

Sparrow says its applications will continue to be available for the time being, but according to an email the company just sent to its users, the Sparrow team, we won’t see any updates to the apps anytime soon: “”However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.” Sparrow will, however, continue to “provide support and critical updates to [its] users.”

“We do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.”

Chances are that some of Sparrow’s work will flow into Google’s mobile clients. Google’s own Gmail client obviously had a rough start while Sparrow quickly garnered a loyal following on both the Mac and iOS. Sparrow’s OS X application launched in October 2011 and its iOS app launched in March 2012.

It still remains to be seen for how long Google plans to support Sparrow’s Mac client. Until now, Google did not offer its own native email client for any operating system and given Google’s focus on the web, it seems unlikely that the company would continue to fund the development of a desktop email client. It’s also unclear if Google will continue to charge for Sparrow’s apps. The Mac app currently costs $9.99 and the iOS client costs $2.99.

Here is the full announcement from Sparrow:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

Dom Leca

We also want to thank our advisors and investors — Loren Brichter, Dave Morin, John Maeda, Xavier Niel, Jérémie Berrebi — as well as our friends and family: Simon Istolainen, Jérémie Kanza, Sacha Cayre, Cedric Gepner, Laurent Merlinot, Didier Kuhn, Christophe Baillon, Laurent Cerveau, Christophe Giaume, Sebastien Maury, Manuel Colom, Bertrand Guiheneuf and all of you who have helped us along the way.