I got an email today from Livescribe announcing the closing of their developer program:
As of July 29th, Livescribe will close its third-party developer program.
With cloud technology and mobile information access becoming increasingly important to our customers, Livescribe is realigning its focus and resources on cloud access, storage and services. Our recent introduction of Livescribe Connect, which enables customers to easily send notes and audio, as a pencast PDF, to people or destinations of their choice like Google Docs, Evernote, email, and Facebook, is an important step in this direction.
Applications in our online store will remain available for download and purchase pending compatibility with future Livescribe software updates.
We will continue to accept applications submitted for publishing in our online store, as well as pattern credit requests through July 22nd. At this time, the SDKs and developer website will no longer be available.
Effective immediately, their forums are read-only and will be taken offline completely in a little over a week. They’re removing the ability for developers to create custom applications and taking away the SDK. Particularly disappointing is the loss of the custom paper penlets, which allow developers to create and print their own custom printed paper and forms.
It’s upsetting to see a technology company close its doors to creative developers. It’s insulting to see them to do so overnight, not only shuttering the program but silencing the forums immediately. It’s clear the company doesn’t value its developer community at all, and that’s a damned shame.
As a consumer and developer, I feel duped. Part of why I purchased the Livescribe was specifically because of the ability to extend it. Developer communities bring niche functionality to products – they add features that are too esoteric for the company to bother with. Killing off your developer community sends a clear message that your product is for mainstream users and mainstream users only: everyone else can go home.
So, well done Livescribe. In the span of just a few hours you’ve turned me from one of the biggest evangelizers of Livescribe to someone who wishes she still had the receipt and packaging for her Echo so she could return it.