KitCam and PhotoForge2 Gone as Developer is Acquired by Yahoo!

KitCam Photoforge acquired by Yahoo

What Happened to KitCam and PhotoForge2?

Yahoo! announced Thursday that it has acquired iPhone app deveoper Ghostbird software. Without much notice this week, their two excellent iPhoneography apps, KitCam and PhotoForge2, disappeared from the App Store.

More information and my speculation after the jump. >>>

yahoo-ghostbird-tweetYahoo! made the announcement in a tweet on Thursday. The Ghostbird Software website now simply displays a message and a thank you. See below for the entire message. With the purchase, Ghostbird has shutdown development of their own iOS apps to focus on improving the mobile Flickr experience.

PhotoForge (and later PhotoForge2) were among the best image editors for iPhone and iPad, period. For years, PhotoForge really wore the mantle “Photoshop for iPhone” and there are still tasks it performs better than any other image editor for iOS.

KitCam was an excellent, powerful, and popular camera replacement app with an excellent set of tools, filters and a powerful built-in image editing module. It was a great app that combined the best features of ProCamera, Camera+, Hipstamatic, Instagram, PhotoForge and a number of others.

While the latest versions of the iOS Flickr app are a huge improvement over previous versions, it uses the ubiquitous Aviary photo editing module, which is good but is also in a ton of other photo apps. If even some of KitCam’s and PhotoForge2’s features make it into future versions of the Flickr app, this is good for Yahoo!. The end-of-life of these two excellent apps, though, is still a net big loss for mobile photographers.

Currently, Ghostbird’s software team is working on improving the Flickr iPad app.

Reinstall KitCam and PhotoForge using the Purchased tab in App Store
Reinstall KitCam and PhotoForge using the Purchased tab in App Store

KitCam, PhotoForge, and PhotoForge2 are no longer available for purchase in the App Store. If you accidentally delete them from your device, you’ll be able to reinstall them from iCloud. In the App Store app, you can find it in your “Purchased” tab, although it’s much easier to reinstall from your iTunes backup. For now, it looks like any in-app purchases you may have made can easily be restored in both apps.

Although the apps will no longer be supported and updated, but you’ll still be able to use both apps until future iOS updates break them.

In a similar acquisition, after Nik Software was purchased by Google, I really feel that the development of the powerful Snapseed slowed almost to a halt. It seems now all we get are the welcome maintenance updates. At least least Yahoo! and Ghostbird were quick in pulling the plug on these apps, leaving no doubt as to their fate.

Both PhotoForge2 and KitCam are complex photo apps. It would be a pleasant surprise to see a new Flickr app with all of those app’s capabilities. Unfortunately, as Yahoo! is looking to widen its base with casual users, we’re likely to see some of the cool stuff from KitCam and PhotoForge, but not all of it in future iterations of Flickr.

This will eventually be very good for Flickr, but bad for the thousands of iPhoneographers who depend on KitCam and PhotoForge2 as a key part of their workflow.

As iPhoneography and mobile photography become more mainstream, expect more of these high profile app acquisitions.


GhostBird Software is joining Yahoo!

Today we are thrilled to announce that Yahoo! has acquired GhostBird Software!

Over the last few years, mobile photography has really taken off, and we feel privileged to have been part of its growth. We are especially humbled to have introduced some of the most-loved photography apps to the App Store. We have been dedicated to bringing incredible photo-editing experiences to iOS since 2009; and the best part is that the journey has just begun.

As photography enthusiasts, we are long-time admirers of Flickr, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring our technology and passion for beautiful photos to the Flickr team. There has been so much exciting progress at Yahoo! as they re-imagine their most-loved products for mobile, including the awesome new Flickr apps for iOS and Android.

If you already have the KitCam or PhotoForge2 apps on your devices, you will be able to continue to use them in their current versions. However, we will not continue to update the apps as future versions of iOS are released. Anyone who previously purchased GhostBird Software’s apps, including KitCam and PhotoForge2, will be able to re-download those apps through iCloud. As of today, KitCam and PhotoForge2 are no longer available for download from the App Store.

Thank you for all of your support and feedback. We can’t wait to work with the Flickr team and help you capture even more beautiful moments for years to come.

The GhostBird Software Team


About Marty Yawnick 1826 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Personally, I’m pretty disappointed to see both of these go. KitCam especially still felt like a fairly new app, with recent updates and a lot of promotion for its features. To have such popular and powerful apps go into no-longer-supported status, liable to be broken by the next iOS updates, just makes me less enthusiastic and wary of buying into the next cool photo apps that come along. Sure, apps are cheap, but I still want to know I’ll have more than a few months’ use from them. I wish GhostBird would have continued support for these despite the acquisition.

  • Rob

    I hope another developer completely rips off the design of KitCam and improves on it. I loved KitCam, but I rarely used it because, although it offered a ton of films and lenses, since there was no way to rearrange them, I quickly bored of searching through them when I wanted to take a shot. That being said, there’s no denying that the UI was at least a 9 out of 10. It was so very well done. So robust yet not complicated due to its extremely well thought out controls. If they’d offered a way to arrange the films, lenses and frames, it would have probably been the only camera app I’d ever use.

    I’m really sorry to see this one go. I have to assume that something in iOS 7 could spell the end of KitCam for those of us who have it.

    I wonder if Flickr will build KitCam into their app? If they do, they’ll probably wreck it. I’m actually a big fan of Flickr – especially the Flickr API – but I have little faith in Yahoo.

  • =M=

    While I’m really sad to see both go, I’ll really miss PhotoForge2. As nice as Photoshop Touch is, there are still things that PhotoForge2 does better.

    I’m sure we’ll see a gutted hybrid of both apps appear in future versions of Flickr. That’s good for Yahoo!, I guess, but really bad for those of us who relied upon and supported these apps over the years.


    • new yahoo hater

      screw Yahoo. All they are doing is pissing off photographers at the moment. I HATE YAHOO.

  • Bridget

    “Although the apps will no longer be supported and updated, but you’ll still be able to use both apps until future iOS updates break them.”

    Uh, no, you leave the apps as they are, with the purchaser knowing that there will simply be no future updates. You don’t take back or break something you sell to a consumer. I paid money for the apps. I don’t care if it was only 99 cents, I paid for something and charging for something then making it unusable without a refund..I’m sure there must be a law against that,hmm?

    Oh well will probably be deleting many apps once iOS7 comes out with that new camera app and the new filters as well.

    • =M=

      Hi, Bridget,

      I’m not too happy about the dropping of support for these apps, either. iOS 7 looks to be a significant update. Without any future updates of these apps, I’m afraid they have maybe a few months of usable life left.



    • Noel Chenier

      “I paid for something and charging for something then making it unusable
      without a refund..I’m sure there must be a law against that,hmm?”
      if there was, Creative Cloud would be illegal… 🙂
      I would hope that Apple would not allow such an update…pretty sure it’s in the guidelines that updates have to work…
      they reject updates for stupid things like wrong use of capitals for iPad in the name you put in on the store…so I would guess this wouldn’t be possible.

  • Jeff

    I simply don’t understand Yahoo’s logic in immediately killing off two terrific apps. I understand they wanted the intelectual assets of GhostBird Software, and buying them out assured that for the most part the team would stay together. This is a far better strategy than Yahoo tring to “steal” the programming resources away one coder at a time.

    Having been part of a recent corporate acquisition, I understand it, but the larger company (10,000 employees) that acquired our 600 person firm wanted our intellectual assts as well as our clients (e.g., users). Yahoo buys a company for mega-bucks, then jettisons the clients that company had and deep-sixes the products they produced. Does that make sense to anybody? Even Google wasn’t that stuped when the acquired Nik.

    Ok, yahoo wants the GhostBird resources to focus on Flickr, I get it, but how much effort would it take to “maintain” and occasionaly improve/enhance two particularly stellar apps? Why didn’t they simply sell (or give away) the apps to some other developer? Witness the re-birth of Simply B&W when the origianl developer decided to close up shop.

    I tell you, I am really getting disgusted with the antics of big-tech, witness Adobe’s recent decision to go 100% subscription going forward with their Creative Suite (now Creative Cloud) cash cow. They have sucessfully ticked off hundreds of thousands of loyal users/upgraders. The last chapter of that debacle has not been written yet.

    As for Yahoo, I just don’t get it.

    • Sid

      Actually, Google was “that stupid” when they bought Nik. They killed Snapseed for the desktop, a product that many people I know used and loved. I do broadly agree with with your comments though.

  • Fredrik Nilsson

    Personally I’m not as frightened by this as you are. Compared to several of the other big companies, Yahoo! has proved (with Flickr) that they don’t always ruin a good product. I agree that Photoforge2 is a great loss, since it’s the ”mobile Photoshop” I use most.

    However, consider the product you could create with the combination of Tumblr, Flickr, Photoforge2 and Kitcam.

    I’d say that, no matter what Google thinks, this is the only realistic chance for us to see a shift from the Facebook/Instagram monopoly to a more diverse social networking arena again.

    • I don’t think that helping networking is Yahoo’s strategy, since it is the social user’s experience that has been ruined on Flickr. I don’t know what their plan is though, maybe to sell ads.

      • Fredrik Nilsson

        I don’t think that Yahoo is doing this out of altruistic reasons either, but my hope is that the purchase of Tumblr can fix the lackings of Flickr’s social side.

        As a side note, the major reason why Flickr’s social side collapsed was the rise of Instagram. With the purchase of Instagram, the social side of Instagram has gotten problems too.

        • Caleb Clark

          Flickr collapesed when Yahoo bought them. they messed everyones account and made you go get a Yahoo account. people left in droves and others didn’t sign up. had Yahoo not botched the job soo bad with Flickr, Instagram never would have gotten a toe hold.

  • Will Photoforge2 work with iOS 7?

    • Not really sure. iOS 7 is still more alpha than beta and still pretty buggy, as I understand it. No way to know for certain until iOS 7 is released (or at least the golden master). =M=

    • NiagaraTim

      both kitcam and photoforge2 works just fine on ios 7 😀

  • David

    Ghostbird, you’re LAME! You created two of the best apps out there (KitCam is my favorite shooting app) and then you turn around and abandon your children once a bunch of money’s waved in your face. Boooo hisssss!!!! So disappointing.

  • Larry Zasitko

    I have been using KitCam since just after Christmas and bought PhotoForge 2 less then a month ago. Very disappointed that they didn’t let anyone know ahead of time. If they had of I would have saved my money and bought something else. I paid 3.99 for PF2 and bought the one in app for 1.99. KitCam was .99 when I got it and I have bought 3 of the in-app for it for 1.99 each. I was looking at getting the last in-app but not any more.
    If Yahoo is smart they would keep the two apps going, even if over time they add bits and pieces to Flickr the original apps would still appeal to many, I just don’t know if they are that smart…
    I was subscribed to Ghostbird’s newsletter but there was zero notice given to existing people that supported them. If this is how they support the people that bought their apps I don’t know how they will be in the future, shame on them!

    • Agreed. I’m a bit put off by the complete lack of notice. Until this, Ghostbird was a great developer to work with from a blog standpoint. =M=

  • David Baer

    My favorite function in PhotoForge 2 was being able to assign geotags to photos. I liked KitCam’s functions, and it sucks to see them kill it. I hope what comes out of this resembles both PF2 & KitCam.

  • gara

    Frankly, I am sick of all
    of the big companies buying out the smaller ones and sick of smaller ones loving $$$$$ more than their products and their name!! As one example (a bit different from the subject here) I suddenly could no longer Tweet w/ my favorite Twitter client, Osfoora. It said I “no longer existed” as it said same for my followers. I was shocked and very upset! It was the best client of all I tried. Suddenly, my Little Bird

  • gara

    …. continued comment:
    My Little Bird was non- functional because , as was told to me via Osfoora , Twitter changed its API & left Osfoora somewhere out in a black hole. List a great Tweet friend”

  • makenna snyder

    this is so messed up! i don’t know why but this just upsets me, haha. I love both of these apps dearly and use them almost everyday i will be so sad if i don’t get to use them in the future especially after all the money i dumped into them!

  • tashad

    my art teacher has a friend who knows the guy who made photoforge and kitcam. So, i guess in a way, you can say im related to him. how cool is that?

  • Good read. Thanks for sharing this.


  • Atort

    Please let me know if Photoforge2 still works with iOS7….hands down is/was the best image editing app ever made and go f$%king figure it’s no longer! It’s funny how that seems to always happen in life. Disappointing and frustrating.

    • NiagaraTim

      no worrys it still works on ios 7 😀

  • NiagaraTim

    phooey screwy yahooey burn that ceo witch that runs yahwoops grrr i put a lot of $$$ into both of those apps.. they better not pull them off our iclouds if ya do we all gonna be kickin screamin MAD! or give us our refunds back!

  • Thomas

    I just updated to IOS 7.0.2 and now KitCam crashes when I tap the shutter button. I’m going to try reinstalling it from iCloud since it’s no longer in the App Store. Very disappointed that they’ve abandoned this amazing app. Anyone have suggestions on what to replace it with? White balance and exposure were my reasons for using KitCam.

  • NewUser

    Hi Marty! Quick question – any recommendation for substitute apps to PhotoForge2?

  • Sylv

    Thanks this article explains a lot. Please can some one help. I had 7gb of photos on this app!!!! I updated my software and the whole app disappeared! I didn’t have I cloud set up stupidly. How can I recover my photos! It’s all my portfolio and 2 years of travelling! Im devestated!

  • Earl

    Just another strategy to kill Apple, buy all popular apps, leave it to dry.

  • solar13

    Sucks SO bad that Photoforge2 isn’t still around. It smoked any photo editing app out there today and can only imagine if it were still being developed and updated currently…be crushing the market! Everything good has to go it seems.