So lumbering Intuit bought spunky little Mint – there’s a shock. ‘Aging cash-rich company with poor perceived customer value takes out young cool upstart’ isn’t exactly a new strategy – see Microsoft with Hotmail, eBay with Skype and Google with…well, 932* ‘started to be bought by Google’ companies in the last 4 years. Now watch the inevitable disappearance of Mint as a genuinely innovative, fun, 2.0 web application, as Intuit slowly smothers it or folds it into the mother ship until it is all but invisible. The one thing that won’t happen is that the adoption of the best of the Mint brand – zippy interface, cool features and a general air of relevancy – into the core Intuit product base. Nope, Quickbooks, Quicken and TurboTax will continue to be bloated, inefficient and clunky.
Why? Because when a company in Treadmill or The Big Rut buys a company in Fun or early Whitewater, it does so to remove competitive threat, not to rejuvenate its culture. And any time the acquired company resists integration, trouble (and divestiture) will soon follow – usually with messy results.
Farewell Mint, we hardly knew ye.
* Fake number made up by me.