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