Evernote was propped up for with VC money, despite the fact that “user and active users have been flat for the last six years”. Six years without customer growth, after $290 million in funding from 2007-2014. ($80 million of that during those last 6 flat years.) Microsoft and Apple took a look at the company and rightly saw Evernote as something useful and affordably duplicable to maintain user stickiness with their respective OSes.
Reminds me a bit of when Steve Jobs unsuccessfully tried to buy the then-young Dropbox in 2009 for $100 million; while in the process of being rebuffed he negged the company’s founders Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston by telling them their cloud service was “a feature, not a product”. (Something that Tim Cook’s Apple is underscoring today, and DropBox ran to the enterprise, where Box was already regularly profitable.)
But at this point I’m not sure anyone wants to buy Evernote. Microsoft has both Wunderlist (which it’s sunsetting) and OneNote, Apple’s Notes is Evernote Lite, Mac/iOS has DevonThink, Bear, SimpleNote, Zoho Notes and KeepIt and others, there are even nascent open source Evernote clones like Elephant, and there are collaborative options like Box Notes and Quip. Who’d want to wade in and try to make any money competing in that space when current management floundered for six years?
Casey Newton at The Verge opined that “Evernote should have snapped up something like Coda, Notion, or NoteJoy when it still had the cash, and pivoted the business to small teams/enterprise while gradually winding down the consumer business…Dropbox, which was in a similar spot, leaned on acquisitions to pivot into the enterprise and handled it beautifully… enterprise acquisitions include Clementine (communication), HackPad (which became Paper), Pixelapse (collaboration), CloudOn (collaboration) and MobileSpan (BYOD)… to me it’s more what those acquisitions signaled — that the company was not resting all its hopes in a market that turned out to be a mirage. evernote never really turned that corner”