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Spiceworks Promises Free Tools Will Continue Despite Ziff Davis B2B Acquisition

Spiceworks – which operates a community of IT professionals, marketplace, and free apps – has agreed to be acquired by Ziff Davis B2B, but says it will continue to prioritize and develop its products.

Spiceworks started out as free, ad-supported software in 2006 and grew to include an online community and marketplace visited by millions of IT professionals. Ziff Davis B2B is a global marketing company known for tech websites such as PCMag and Speedtest. Spiceworks CEO Jay Hallberg announced the acquisition in a blog post on Aug. 14, stating that the combined company focus is to “build the preeminent marketplace that connects technology buyers and sellers.” News outlets reported 59 employees were laid off as a result of the merger.

After the announcement, users expressed concerns about the future of the Spiceworks community, data collection, and the products many rely on, including help desk, inventory, and network monitoring tools.

Source: Spiceworks Network Monitor at SoftwareReviews, August 2019

Source: Spiceworks Network Monitor at SoftwareReviews, August 2019

Jay Hallberg addressed these concerns in a follow-up post after the deal closed, assuring users that no significant changes are planned to the community. Spiceworks will remain free and will continue investing in its tools according to its product plan. It will apply user data in the same ways with the option to opt out in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) remaining.

Our Take

There is no indication yet that there will be any immediate negative changes to the Spiceworks community and products, but because customer data is the real asset here, it is possible that the apps will either be monetized or neglected in the future. Organizations that rely on Spiceworks tools to support their IT processes should closely monitoring announcements around changes to products and data usage, more of which should come at the upcoming SpiceWorld conference Sept. 23-25 in Austin, Texas. If you decide to select and implement a new tool, allocate plenty of time to do it properly.

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