Today, Automattic caught the WordPress community by surprise, by announcing that they acquired WooCommerce. It’s actually a great move, for both Automattic and WooCommerce. Really, everyone wins. Obviously, WooCommerce gets their big payday, and the money will enable them to make an even better product. (And yes, there is room for improvement there). And of course, WordPress.com users will get ecommerce ability, and that’s really the point. WordPress.com needs to compete with the likes of Squarespace and Wix and the rest. Frankly, WordPress.com has fallen behind in its ability to attract users who want more than a simple blog. The eye-catching designs and feature-set of those site builders has to be worrisome to Matt Mullenweg and Automattic.
Now, here’s the thing. Mullenweg said:
“Today’s news is just the first of a number of announcements we have planned for the remainder of the year, so please stay tuned!”
Of course, some of those announcements may not have anything to do with acquisitions, but I’m betting at least one more major acquisition will take place, possibly two.
Automattic Will Acquire A Drag-And-Drop Page Builder in 2015
I recently compared some popular drag-and-drop page builders, and this is what I believe will be the next main acquisition for Automattic. I’m not sure which one will be the target, but I’m hoping it is Beaver Builder [aff], because it doesn’t feel out of place in the way some do. Mullenweg mentioned that one of the reasons for purchasing WooCommerce rather than building their ecommerce plugin was that it was outside the scope of what Automattic could do well. In other words, it was complex; it was hard. So instead of tackling that mountain, they just bought something that had already been tackled and proved commercially profitable.
Creating drag-and-drop page builders – done well – is also hard, as the core team discovered when they basically dropped the ball on the Front End Editor plugin, which was a features as plugin product, but stalled and basically got left behind. But this is the feature that users salivate over, and it’s the one other big feature that WordPress.com lacks. It’s competitors thrive on their ability to let users drag and drop to edit and build pages. WordPress desperately needs this for its platform. It makes sense to me that they might go after a smaller, cheaper target than WooCommerce was, and I think Beaver Builder would fit the bill well. But who knows, maybe they’ll use the same strategy and acquire the one that sells the most, which I assume is currently Visual Composer. I can’t predict which, but Automattic desperately needs this type of product in its arsenal, so I have to assume they’ll acquire one from somewhere. I’m guessing it will be sooner rather than later. Their 10th anniversary is in June, so let’s go ahead and predict a time frame of June – July for this one.
Automattic Might Purchase Either Sucuri or WordPress SEO
WordPress has seen its share of security issues lately, so I’m thinking Automattic might purchase a well-known, much-used security firm like Sucuri. Although I don’t think Automattic needs an SEO plugin, my gut says they may want to put the highly-popular WordPress SEO line of products under their umbrella. I’m not as confident in either of these two predictions, but at this point, neither would surprise me.
I don’t have any other predictions at the moment, but I’d love to hear what you think? And if you have a drag-and-drop page builder plugin for WordPress, it might be too late to hope that Automattic will snap it up. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure Matt Mullenweg knows it exists. You never know… 🙂