Got an interesting call last night from Chuck Longfield, CEO of Target Software, letting me know that Blackbaud has acquired Target. There’s a rather thin press release on the Target site at http://www.targetsite.com/news/index.php
This is a huge event for the nonprofit software world and a smart move on Blackbaud’s part. Target’s clients are the larger nonprofits, where Blackbaud’s tend toward the small to mid-sized. Target’s done a great job of web-enabling their tools, even more so with their V10 release (so far anyway — it’s still in development). So Blackbaud gains a quite a lot. The question is what they’ll do with it and how will that impact the market. Target will continue operating as a separate company, according to Chuck and the press release. But can they do that forever? Blackbaud’s got a lot of experience in acquiring companies (one of which was a small software company I worked for in the mid-90′s) so they’ve probably got the process down pat. But will it work with a large company like Target?
The big question in my mind is what does this mean for the nonprofit users? With reduced competition, there’s less incentive to innovate and improve. We have to hope that there’s still enough competition among the other players in the market and that the nonprofit clients themselves can exert enough pressure to keep the innovations coming.
This will be a very interesting situation to watch…