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Monday
Sep172012

The 7 stages of Nik/Google grief

Nik software's heads must be spinning right now wondering what hit them. One moment they're on an all time high because Google just bought their company and the next the internet is filled with photographers all clearly somewhere in the 7 stages of grief about it. Check out the comments on Nik's announcement post: http://education.niksoftware.com/2012/09/17/google-acquires-nik-software/. Here are a few highlights from their comments and from Twitter:

1. Shock and denial

Comment on Nik's post: This is terrifying. You make the best plug-ins in the business. I am scared.

2. Pain and guilt

Comment on Nik's post: You just ruined my day. Sorry to see this happen to a good product line :-(

3. Anger and bargaining

Comment on Nik's post: It would be helpful to have a statement from you or Google or GooNik or Nikoogle as to what this means for your products.

4. Depression, reflection, loneliness

Comment on Nik's post: I guess this is the beginning of the end, after 12 years of using your plug-ins, probably time to move on.

5. The upward turn

Comment on Nik's post: I was planning on upgrading my complete collection, but I’m glad I haven’t done so yet. Time to look for a replacement.

6. Reconstruction and working through

Comment on Nik's post: Oh well. Snapseed was great while it lasted. Time to find an alternative app I guess.

7. Acceptance and hope

On Twitter @chrismarquardt: I see it as an opportunity to do more education around how to get great b/w conversions without the help of NIK

Ok so that's all very entertaining but seriously, should we be worried? Well I'd say yes - worried. But not necessarily in despair, yet. So far we've not seen a response from Google or Nik describing what will happen to Nik's existing product line. All we have to go on is Google's previous track record. Sadly that  hasn't been so good. The recent google acquisition, Sparrow, immediately ceased development. And before that Picnik, the web based photo editing software - was also closed down. Certainly the future looks very bleak for Nik's IOS products.

No doubt we'll see improved photo editing tools in Google's own products like Android and Google+ but what about Nik's existing product line? At the very least it seems likely that talent within Nik will be at least partially distracted into Google products. It seems like Google likes to acquire companies for the talent rather than the products. If that's the case here I believe it'll be the end of the very best plug-in products on the market - products I use very regularly. But perhaps part of the deal with Google is that the Nik plugins will go on. Or perhaps I'm just in stage 1 myself.

Those of you looking for good alternatives should look at Topaz Labs and OnOne Software. This is a huge opportunity for those guys and if they're smart they'll think about offering discounts or cross-grade deals.

[The attached picture, by the way, is one of my old black and whites which I just recently re-processed from the original RAW using Silver Efex Pro and got a very pleasing result in a fraction of the time it originally took me with Photoshop]

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Reader Comments (2)

Just a few comments/thoughts:

1. I guess saying NO to a billion is not that easy, if not simply impossible.

2. We still have what we have and can use it. All NIK software remains as is and we don't have to give it back, and can continue using it to our hearts content.

3. What will happen down the road? Well, no one knows what's behind the next turn, whether it be/was a Google-takeover, bankruptcy or another program replacing the current one ... all complaints are based on the projection that NIK would remain in business and remain great.

4. This is a tricky question but ... why should we pay quite a large amount of money for software, only to see the company be taken over for a huge sum. Whoever used NIK for free is probably having a chuckle right now ... At least Instagram was free to use!

5. I wonder whether the foll. scenario might be poss.: Let's assume Google does discontinue NIK. Would this not be an opportunity for another company to step in and program sth similar? Like there is Photoshop but there is also GIMP, so there could be a gimpy version of NIK ... perhaps even for FREE. To what extent would Google then stop them based on any copyright laws there might be if NIK wasn't offered any longer and Google had no interest in supporting the product.

Let's see what happens ... the glass is half full and half empty at the same time ...

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter

Hi Walter. Interesting that you choose to suggest GIMP as a product that could step up and replace Photoshop. You're making my point for me quite well because GIMP isn't half the product Photoshop is. On paper they compare well but in use it's night and day. Photoshop is just plain better. The people who write it seem to understand how it needs to respond for photographers. GIMP just doesn't seem as controllable or to have the same finesse. The same would likely happen if someone were to try and recreate the Nik plugins. There's something about the Nik software that feels like it was made by people that really understood photography. There *are* competitors to Nik. onOne Software, for example, has the Perfect Suite and it's good. But... not as good as Nik. The difference is ineffable - hard to put a finger on. But it's there.

Anyway this situation moved on pretty quickly. Nik were very quick to respond by saying that their plugins would continue. I hope that's true. Time will tell. I still think this is a big opportunity for Nik's competitors.

January 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterJohn Arnold

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