This morning ephemeral messaging app Snapchat announced that it had poached a Googler, in addition to an Amazonian and a Facebooker. The company will be bringing Google App Engine director Peter Magnusson on board as VP of Engineering.
The announcement article in the WSJ, however, did not sit well with Magnusson’s former colleagues at Google App Engine, specifically this line: “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, [Snapchat co-founder Bobby] Murphy said.”
Snapchat is a huge App Engine success story. The fact that Snapchat, an app with crazy growth and image sharing, hasn’t ever fallen over like so many startups do when they scale, is a point of pride for the developer tool suite.
Thus the suggestion that Magnusson left App Engine to help Snapchat migrate off of it is apparently causing some issues back at the Mountain View ranch.
Magnusson himself comments on the Wall Street Journal article:
For the record, the quote “Part of his new job at Snapchat will be building technology infrastructure in-house so that the company can begin to lessen its reliance on partners like Google, Murphy said.” is (a) not what Bobby said, (b) not really a focus of my job either. Thx WSJ for pissing off all my old Google friends.
A more correct statement is that we’ll continuously evaluate alternatives, and likely over time develop more infrastructure ourselves, in particular in specialized areas of our apps. Google is a great partner, and the success of Snapchat would simply not have been possible without Google Cloud, and we expect to work closely together. Period
In the comment, Magnusson softens the quoted statement from “lessen the reliance on [Google App Engine]” to “expect to work closely together” while “evaluating alternatives” and implies that Murphy was misquoted.
The “piss[ed] off” part of the comment echoes what we’ve heard is the general App Engine reaction to the tone of article; it would be like if someone from WordPress joined TechCrunch to help us migrate off of WordPress. And framed it as such.
Disclosure: My SO works at General Catalyst, which is an investor in Snapchat. I’m not particularly passionate about Google App Engine.
Update: The WSJ has edited its post, and has edited out the line about Snapchat weaning off its reliance on Google App Engine. Snapchat, in an email, calls the entire situation a “misunderstanding.”