Facebook acquires Sofa design team

Ronny Kerr · June 10, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1b6c

Dutch software and design team to help social networking website be a little more beautiful

Software and design team Sofa announced this week that it has been acquired by Facebook. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase is not for Sofa’s products, but for its 11-employee strong team, which will be moving to Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto.

From Sofa’s blog:

We expected to keep working at Sofa forever. But after Facebook first made contact, we were quickly convinced to join forces.

Facebook is full of talent and has a great culture. We feel challenged and at home at the same time, and can really get things done there. But equally important, we believe that at Facebook, we will be making a real difference to a lot of people’s lives.

Founded in 2006 and based in Amsterdam, Sofa has received several commendations recognizing the company’s eye for beautiful aesthetics. Two years in a row (2008 and 2009), the company won the Apple Design Award in a contest judged by actual Apple engineers.

Besides developing its own products, Sofa has created designs for companies as prominent as Mozilla, Nike and TomTom.

Sofa explicitly says that neither of its main products, Kaleidoscope and Versions, are part of the acquisition, meaning both will still be readily available. Development on the applications may slow, since the Sofa team will be at Facebook, but every bit of evidence we have says that development won’t shut down completely.

(For the curious, Kaleidoscope is a file comparison application that identifies differences in text and image files. Versions, at its basest, tracks changes to files, but is much more powerful than that.)

As for Checkout and Enstore, retail and point-of-sale applications, both products will be owned, developed and sold by Sofa’s joint venture partner Acclivity.

At this point, it’s unclear exactly what aspect of Facebook design Sofa will be focusing on. What we do know is that the social networking website has a knack for reconfiguring the site’s design every eight seconds, often pissing off a large number of users, at least temporarily. Maybe Sofa can help the site more smoothly make design transitions, appealing to everybody.

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