Avoiding the steamroller

by Giles Turnbull

Dan Wood, whose Watson web services software was pushed aside by the steamroller that was Sherlock 3, has since been working on another application: a web page editor called Sandvox.

Plans were made to start unveiling Sandvox to the press at Macworld next week; things were looking good. Then someone claimed to have found a reference to something called "iWeb" on Apple's web site, and the rumor mill cranked into overdrive. Might Wood be a victim of Apple's steamroller twice?

Even if the iWeb reference is true, the name 'iWeb' could mean a lot of things. Yes it could be a web pages editor, but it could also be a new interface for .Mac, or a new tool combining iCal calendars and Address Book calendars with .Mac accounts. Perhaps it's a personal web clippings database or a weblogging/podcasting tool (as opposed to a page editor).

Whatever it turns out to be, Dan Wood is making use of his company's size and agility to change plans at the last minute. He's announced that Sandvox will be released as a public beta on Monday, giving everyone time to try it out. Then, if iWeb is real and does something similar, Dan will still have the satisfaction of saying that he got there first.


2006-01-06 21:35:29
Inevitable and unfortunate
As long as Apple continues to create software it's inevitable that independent software developers are going to get squeezed out. It's truly unfortunate if it happens twice to Karelia as it seems it might. That said, Watson was always better than Sherlock, and I'm sure Sandvox can be much better than iWeb (if there really is an iWeb, they may have leaked intentionally to confuse us).
2006-01-07 03:10:13
Dan, Try Competing This Time
Let's face it: a low-end web design tool for non-technical people isn't exactly a new idea. The guys at Realmac Software who produce RapidWeaver have had a great product out for quite some time now.

In this arena Karelia is a bit of a Johnny-Come-Lately. They of all people should have anticipated a basic web design app for everyone being produced by Apple. It's an obvious addition to their stable of iLife/iWork/.Mac products. In fact I'm surprised they haven't released one sooner.

I felt a touch sorry for Dan Wood when Sherlock3 directly competed with Watson, but Watson was inspired by Sherlock and chose to enter the ground that was an obvious next step for it.

It's only due to Watson being a great execution of the idea that it won so many fans. Even with Sherlock3 it was still far better. In fact I still use Watson every day and bought a license for it before it was given away. I don't even know if Sherlock is on my Mac, I have so little desire to use it. Did Dashboard replace it?

Dan should have continued to develop Watson and kept improving it rather than sell it to Sun (who have a long record of buying great third party software and then leaving it to rot), effectively abandoning those of us that bought licenses to support its continued development.

Now that Karelia are potentially in the same boat as before I hope they choose to stand and fight rather than giving up before the end of round one.

2006-01-07 05:30:21
Is that true?
I thought Watson was still doing well despite Sherlock 3 and what killed it was that Dan sold it to Sun and couldn't continue to support it on the Mac. There are screenshots of the early efforts to port it to Java but not long into the project Sun abandoned it. In light of Dashboard (which really would have been the Watson killer) and the purchase of Konfabulator, Sun's abandonment of Watson does not look like a good idea.
2006-01-07 07:33:39
Inevitable and unfortunate
I think you're giving 'they' too much credit, but time will tell.