Radio Userland: What’s next–Speculations

There is also much speculation that this is tied to Userland being acquired by a larger company. Dave Winer today says:
To those who have asked if I will return as CEO, I can’t. I have a job that I love at Berkman, we’re doing lovely things, the things I want to do. For me, the technology challenge is behind me, the next challenge is to apply the technology in activities that Harvard does uniquely well, and then bring the results to the constituencies that the university serves. That means there’s room for a CEO here, and a management team; it also means it’s possible that UserLand will be acquired. But we will only do it if it means continuity and growth for UserLand’s customers. One thing hasn’t changed, the first two syllables of the company’s name. That’s been constant through all the changes of the last fifteen years.”
I spent part of last night exchanging emails with friends and colleagues, speculating about what might be going on. Ideas we rejected–an acquisition by Microsoft (already discussed, apparently, would be interesting complement to Sharepoint), Yahoo (always known to jump on a trend), AOL(nah, kings of build it themselves and user base is so not relevant to their focus).
My guess #1: Merge with Academica
Given that one of the striking features of the Manila and Userland product strategy has been the strong and apparently committed installed base they have established in the university and academic community, why not a sustainable business venture between Stanford and Harvard?
AOL gets the newbie consumers, MT gets the digerati, Blogger gets the’ if we have it on the Google toolbar they come ‘ crowd, and diaryland and live journal continue as they are.
Meanwhile, Userland gets a great boost for the knowledge management and edu business they have served so effectively, and the universities get to grow a successful spin-out very complementary to their current blog-related endeavors.
My guess #2: Merge with Social Text
Second wild guess-I am going all out here–is a merger with Social Text, a company deeply interested in both the academic and the enterprise space, and one that is likely to continue to support RSS, having stayed out of the recent barbed discussions. The people at Social Text are smart and committed,and are working to create a more robust product; they also just received some investment money.
Guess #3: Can’t talk about this one, and it’s a wild card around an under the wire not yet launched start up that’s received beaucoup dollars and is in acquisition mode. I don’t think this is the one, but who knows.
Okay, I’ve put the wild speculations out there, and now will wait to be proving totally wrong on every count, which is how these things usually go.