Atlassian buys Trello for $425 million
Now that Trello has been acquired by Atlassian, the Australian software maker is one step closer to fulfilling its mission: for their tools to be used by 100 million people.
Atlassian has made its 18th acquisition: the Australian software maker has bought Trello for $425 million ($360 million in cash and the rest in restricted shares and options). Although Atlassian is hardly a beginner when it comes to acquiring companies, Trello is the largest acquisition to date — the team collaboration software maker has more than 19 million users and shares Atlassian’s dream of being used by 100 million. According to the official announcement, Trello “perfectly fills a gap between the structured workflows of JIRA and the free-form collaboration of Confluence and will give teams the option to find the right Atlassian tool for the type of work they need to complete.”
Atlassian President Jay Simons told Forbes that the company is “over-indexed on R&D” (they spent 38 percent of revenue for the full year 2016 on R&D) because they “think around workplace technology you always have to be reinventing.”
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Atlassian aims to “give teams more choice in the tools they use to support the way that they want to work.” As part of the Atlassian portfolio, Trello will be “offering a fun new way for teams to organize the often messy range of information that feeds into great teamwork”. One of the things that made Trello appealing is its flexibility: the team collaboration software maker allows users to control “how the board looks and operates so you can mold it to how your team works, and track progress in stages that reflect your processes.”
In November 2016, software company Asana introduced Boards, a visual layout for tracking projects with Trello-like columns. Co-founder Justin Rosenstein told Forbes that they give Trello “full credit” but added that Asana perceives the famous team collaboration software maker “as a feature, not a product. ” Rosenstein, a former Facebook early employee, claimed that the competitive moves (Boards vs Trello, Slack vs Microsoft Teams) have their roots in three compartments of collaboration software: files, communication and work tracking.
Although Boards is Trello’s obvious rival, a scenario in which the two show their teeth is unlikely to happen; Atlassian has proved before that they can play nicely. In 2015, Steve Goldsmith, general manager of HipChat at Atlassian, told Fast Company “it’s not a finite pie that Slack and HipChat are going to carve up” and emphasized that “there’s plenty of room for both to be huge providers.”