- Postini was a cross-platform web service that provided email, web security, and archiving services.
- Postini’s web services also allowed users to archive their emails while protecting.
- Overtime Postini services went under Google’s control.
While much is to be said about the innovation that defines Big Tech, there’s just as much to be said about the other part of the industry: Acquisition.
Oftentimes, many of the biggest tech companies currently dominating the field are buying up competitors with just as much energy as they spend developing products and services of their own.
- Year Founded
- Shinya Akamine, Gordon Irlam, Brian Maggi, and Scott Petry
- Email, web security
- Redwood City, CA; San Carlos, CA
- Key People
- Shinya Akamine, Gordon Irlam, Brian Maggi, and Scott Petry; Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- Notable Products
- Email, security, archiving
This is not a new phenomenon, either – It’s been this way since Big Tech began.
Acquisition gives companies a simpler way to get their hands on an interesting product or service (as opposed to trying to develop a dupe or a copy of some sort.)
Whether it be a product they wish they made themselves or simply a service giving them a run for their money as a competitor, acquisition occurs nearly as often as the release of new, innovative technology.
Take Postini, for example. How did this Google acquisition come to be, how did Google eventually get its hands on the company, and what happened after that? Let’s go over the history of Postini and look at the facts below.
The History of Postini: What to Know
First released before the turn of the century, Postini was a cross-platform web service that provided email, web security, and archiving services. The company’s cloud computing services could filter email into separate folders automatically, denoting what was spam, what was malware, and what was safe before it even hit a user’s inbox.
This was unheard of at the time. Postini’s web services also allowed users to archive their emails while protecting them and their important digital info from any malware that might exist on their network.
Given the success and the novelty of Postini’s web services, it’s no surprise that a bigger, more intimidating company eventually wanted to get its hands on what Postini had built. In this instance, that company was Google.
This is perhaps the biggest blip on the timeline: Postini was now under Google’s control, and in less than five years, the company would completely wipe the name from the picture.
In 2011, the canary in the coal mine was heard: Google made the announcement that it planned to discontinue several products, including the ones born from the Postini acquisition several years earlier.
A year later, in 2012, Google announced the complete shutdown of all Postini web services. The company would be folding its services — including archiving, email, and web security — into Google Apps by the end of 2015. Postini was officially no more.
The Founding of Postini: How It Happened
Postini originated as a startup. Under the name Postini, Shinya Akamine, Gordon Irlam, Brian Maggi, and Scott Petry opened up shop in 1999.
They did so with the help of August Capital, a venture capital firm founded by none other than David Marquardt, a member of more than three dozen different boards of directors for some of the biggest tech companies around (including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Seagate, and more.)
Needless to say, Marquardt knew a good startup when he saw one and decided to help get Postini off the ground.
While this was how Postini was initially founded, it’s worth mentioning their second round of funders as well. This included Sun Microsystems itself and Summer Partners Accelerator Fund, a private equity firm committed to funding exciting developments in the worlds of tech, science, healthcare, and more.
On the timeline of events, the money from these first and second rounds was what initially helped Postini get off the ground.
Postini Through The Decades
Postini Before Google Acquisition
Now that the facts are known about Postini’s history and how it originated, let’s take a closer look at the timeline and get into the numbers. In 2005, just a couple of years before the Google acquisition, Postini was operating ten data centers in the United States. These ten centers alone saw more than 2.5 billion emails a week.
What’s more, the company managed the web security of more than four thousand different companies. They also provided the same for six million end-users across countless titans of various industries (such as Merrill Lynch, Rayovac, Circuit City, and the like). Needless to say, they’d outgrown their initial Redwood City, California office and needed to move over to San Carlos.
Postini After Google Acquisition
Just two years after these aforementioned figures were disclosed, Google made the big announcement: The then-burgeoning tech giant had paid more than $600 million in cash to acquire Postini. On July 9th, 2007, Postini was no longer – It was now Google Postini Services.
By 2012, the company had more than doubled its 2005 figures and added many more data centers throughout America, Europe, and abroad.
Interestingly enough, this was also the same year that Google announced Postini would be shutting down and all of its services would be absorbed by Google Apps. It took several years to move everyone over, but by the end of 2015, Postini was no more and Google Apps now reigned supreme.
What Were the Most Important Aspects of Postini?
More than anything else, Postini’s email service was the most important aspect of the company. From its ability to scan incoming emails for malware or spam before they arrived in users’ inboxes to its ability to prevent that malware or spam from doing any real harm to any company or their networks, Postini email was truly on another level for an email provider in the mid-2000s.
(Remember: at this point in time, Gmail wasn’t even a thing. It didn’t even exit the “beta” phase until 2009. No wonder Google wanted to take over.)
Going off of this, another one of Postini’s most important aspects was its web security services. During the early years of email and the Internet, people were much less aware of the potential threats that lurked out there online.
Postini’s web security was truly revolutionary for this reason: by only permitting messages on its so-called A-list to pass through the company’s system, Postini could instantly impose restrictions or bans. This effectively protected companies and users from harm without it ever even hitting their inboxes.
Last but not least, Postini’s archive services. It might seem strange to have a need to archive anything given the relatively young age of the world wide web when Postini was founded, but their foresight was unbelievably keen: The company knew that this would make them a major player in the years to come, and they were exactly right.
How Did Postini Make Money?
Postini made its money from two primary sources, its everyday users and its corporate users. The latter proved to be especially lucrative for Postini, which could wholesale its services to companies and effectively allow them to filter their emails through its servers before having them sent to the company’s own private email server.
This, along with archiving services and web security, made the company a lot of money by selling digital peace of mind to companies big and small.
Purchase by Google
While Postini wasn’t making any acquisitions of its own throughout its brief but highly successful history, it was eventually acquired by a bigger fish, Google. This purchase by Google serves as the only acquisition ever to involve the company.
Postini Notable Controversies
Malfunctioning Spam Filter
Oddly enough, Postini’s biggest controversy occurred under Google’s ownership. For about a week and a half in early 2014, Postini’s spam filter malfunctioned. This resulted in an enormous backlog of undelivered emails that accrued over a nine or ten-day period in late February and early March.
Google went in, resolved the spam filter issue, and got everyone’s mail delivered as normal. Still, what an inconvenience — it would have been quicker for everyone to send their emails through the U.S. Postal Service instead.
The other big controversy involving the Postini name was also under Google’s reign: The actual shutdown of the company itself. The process was only supposed to take a year, but it took three. Three whole years to get all Postini users moved over to Google products!
This is a truly baffling amount of time. (Imagine taking three years to move from one home to another. It’s inconceivable.) Not everyone was thrilled about the move, of course, but they had the choice to move over to Gmail or choose a new email provider.