1. 47
    1. 36

      I wonder if any acquired startup will ever have the courage to apologize to customers their new owner doesn’t want as customers anymore.

      1. 25

        Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple.

        Not even sure how they can publish this with a straight face.

        Or their Android + API numbers were really bad

        1. 3

          They sure do fit hand in glove in the Apple world where all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others and only those who carry the number of the beast are allowed to get the ‘best weather information possible’.

          Well, more fool them and their adjectives. Fortunately weather information is generally freely available from national weather offices, all it takes is for someone to create a centralised distribution point for such. Now that Dark Sky has gone the way of the dodo I expect something like this to crop up soon.

      2. 1

        We see it as courage, VCs see it as defection.

    2. 17

      So disappointing!

    3. 23

      The reactions here are disappointing. I can understand the frustration of their Android and API users, but the idea that the developers owe anyone an apology for choosing to take the opportunity to cash in on their hard work and hopefully get a chance to take a breath from the stress of running your own small business is incredulous. I’m incredibly happy for the team.

      1. 9

        I disagree.

        This type of thing hurts the whole software industry by making it look like we’re all a bunch of fly by night shysters out to make a quick buck, and we’ll throw users under the bus as soon as we see dollar signs.

        It acts to devalue software in general because nobody wants to buy something that’s likely to be shutdown arbitrarily.

        To be fair, the problem is with the companies doing the acquiring, and I can understand why smaller companies sell out. In this case, Apple has resources to develop their own weather app, distribute with iOS, and crush them out of existance. It wouldn’t even be the first time, and I’m sure Dark Sky knows that.

        1. 3

          I can agree with the sentiment. I too would like to see more viable independent software companies.

          When I read these opinions though, I can’t help but feel that the difficulty of making ends meet, not to mention a comfortable living, as one of these small developers is being overlooked. Selling out here might be contributing to the problem, but it also might be the only way in this ecosystem for these people to get a break.

          I wonder, how many of the people making judgmental comments have actually had a go at building a small independent software company themselves, or even worked for one for that matter?

          Also, Dark Sky has been around since 2011, 9 years of work is hardly a run at making “a quick buck”.

      2. 7

        Many of the users they’re shutting out are paying users so yes, they owe an apology to them.

      3. 13

        They definitely owe an apology, if not more than that. If you want Android users to be happy for them, they should display empathy for the users they are leaving behind. I can understand that the company would be happy to get paid off, but the idea that users owe the company gratitude for abandoning them is ridiculous.

        These “our incredible journey” posts are almost always tone deaf, and this one is no exception.

        1. 14

          I don’t think the users owe them gratitude any more than they owe anyone an apology. They worked to provide a service for people and have now decided to do something different with their lives. The idea that paying a 3$ a year subscription entitles you to an apology if the people behind it decide to change course is preposterous.

          1. 7

            I agree with your general sentiment, but….

            API users are not just paying $3 a year. They’re also paying with their time. They had to learn/integrate the API, and now that it’s deprecated, they will have to unlearn/remove the API integrations. Probably worth a few thousand in person-hours.

            1. 4

              Probably worth a few thousand in person-hours.

              Assuming “a few thousand” == 3000, you’re saying it will take an entire 6 person dev team a whole quarter to move off this API?

              1. 1

                Huh? $3,000 / ($150/hr) = 20 hr.

                Edit: Oh. I see what you mean. I’m dumb. 😅

            2. 2

              What is the draw of their API versus NOAA’s? I don’t know the domain well so I’m curious.

          2. 1

            It’s nobodys fault but theirs that they decided that $3/yr was a good idea for a premium subscription. I would have paid at least that much per month for the service, personally.

    4. 11

      This is really frustrating. Are there any good alternative APIs? I was using this for my IRC bot, but it sounds like they’re phasing out support for that eventually, so I’ll have to replace it with something else.

      Weather Underground shut down a while back, Yahoo Weather no longer exists, api.weather.gov is US only (and a massive pain to deal with).

      It looks like Carrot Weather has the options for Foreca, ClimaCell, AccuWeather, Aeris Weather, and MeteoGroup… that app has luckily spent the last year or so adding more data sources… but as far as I can tell, most of those don’t really have a hobby-level tier. There’s also weather.com, weather.gov, NOAA, and WMO. However, some of those are limited to the US.

      Does anyone have experience with any of these and how they are to work with or how their pricing is?

      1. 3

        Are there any good alternative APIs? I was using this for my IRC bot

        It’s somewhat gimmicky, but I have curl http://wttr.in/Cambridge?n0 in my .profile. When I log in now, I see (with colours that weren’t copied over):

        Weather report: Cambridge
            \  /       Partly cloudy
          _ /"".-.     6..8 °C        
            \_(   ).   → 13 km/h      
            /(___(__)  10 km          
                       0.1 mm         

        For an IRC bot, that might be sufficient…

      2. 2

        Thanks for the tip with weather.gov! I just swapped a simple call from Darksky to National Weather Service with minimal fuss.

    5. 10

      Is https://openweathermap.org/ useful as an alternative? I haven’t seen it mentioned in discussions about replacing Dark Sky, and I don’t know enough about the field to compare it.

      1. 5

        I liked two things about DarkSky. The first was their ‘nowcasting’ service, which gave you very accurate rainfall projections at almost minute granularity over the next hour. This was great for answering the most important weather question I have: do I want to cycle to / from work now, or wait half an hour if I want to avoid being drenched? The other thing was their radar maps, which showed me whether the big clouds were moving towards me or away, so I could get a reasonable idea of how things would change over time. The rest of their data wasn’t that accurate.

        The thing I didn’t like about DarkSky was that they had forecast.io as an unofficial front end developed by some employees, which had a much better front end. They shut it down and directed everyone to their main page.

    6. 6

      For those that are saying that others are overreacting and/or being too salty: https://web.archive.org/web/20200311111729/https://blog.darksky.net/dark-sky-has-a-new-owner/

      They’ve been around for years, and years ago, they posted this in the above blog post:

      Dark Sky isn’t going anywhere, and our focus hasn’t changed. Applied Invention will help us do what we do better, and accomplish the new things we want to accomplish sooner.

      Aaaand with this blog post, they disabled findind the older blog posts. It feels like a sharp about-face.

    7. 5

      Sounds like a great opportunity for someone else to fill in the soon-to-be market gap.

      EDIT: Apparently much of the base data is public.

      1. 9

        There’s really nothing unique about all these weather apps. It’s a perfect lifestyle project for anyone looking for one. No networking effect required, no user data to moderate; very little front-end work; mostly just a backend optimisation to make a successful pivot, plus, a good UI.

        1. 3

          I wonder if I should monetize https://github.com/dmbaturin/pytaf/ as “most precise weather forecast you will ever find”. ;)

    8. 8

      Incredibly happy about this, because now I don’t have to worry about their funding and they’ll nuke The Weather Channel out of iOS and replace it with something better.

      Next up: killing Yelp integration in Apple Maps. If Apple could just buy Yelp and end their toxic nightmare by turning it into a force for good I’d be over the moon.

      1. 10

        Another possible “courage” move from Apple would be purchasing DuckDuckGo. Given that DDG already uses Apple Maps as its mapping component and Dark Sky as its weather provider, it seems like they would be ripe for a broadened collaboration, if not a purchase. I don’t know how much money Google pays Apple for the privilege of being the default search engine, but Apple might see it as an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to privacy.

        1. 1

          Apple gives you a lot of privacy, if you agree to surender your data to US gov agencies too.

          1. 6

            You don’t have to use iCloud backups. It’s easy to make it back up to your Mac over WiFi

            Edit: im annoyed about iCloud backup too but it’s not an insurmountable problem

      2. 6

        killing Yelp integration in Apple Maps

        Well at least historically, this kind of business isn’t in Apple’s DNA in my opinion. It makes a lot of sense for Google to do this in Maps because their business is about collecting useful (but potentially personal and sensitive) data and make it accessible for free (with all the advertising system we know). But Apple’s business is about selling software and hardware, and I’m sure that they consider the recent anti-Google movement. Buying a company is really about responsibility you know. So outsourcing this stuff to Google and Yelp still makes sense today IMO.

        PS: Notice how Apple ditched customer reviews from their store a few months ago. They hate handling publicly-displayed user content and they’re bad at it. They don’t want to invest in this. Others like Amazon are way better at this IMO.

      3. 2

        OT: why is it Apple as a company and many of its aficionados tend to use so many adjectives when describing anything related to the company, its products or its policies? It is generally easy to pick out Apple folks by looking at the language used: Incredibly happy, … is incredulous, I’m incredibly happy for the team, etc.

        1. 8

          I have a lot of Apple products, but I’ve been using Dark Sky since before I had an iPhone and I’ve always been worried about the longevity of the service. The current situation with weather forecasting is a complete mess. The industry is very hostile. Not an Apple apologist. Been doing open source work for… at least 15 years now.

          on the topic of weather data:

          • Everyone uses the government’s data and produces their own models. Nobody’s really using the power of crowdsourcing the data based on all of the devices floating out there which can measure things like pressure
          • Weather Underground was independent and seemed good, now part of IBM+Weather Channel. Not really good anymore.
          • Accuweather leaches off of NOAA, has sued the government several times because they don’t want any competition “for free” from the government. e.g., they want it to be illegal for NOAA to have any radar images available to the public. They’ve done evil things like only warn TV stations that pay them for weather data that their viewers are about to be hit by a tornado which NOAA hadn’t detected yet. People died because they wanted to protect their revenue stream and not give out a free warning.
          • Windy is great, but not user friendly
          • DarkSky has always been simple and incredibly accurate… like telling me it’s going to start raining in 5 mins where I’m at according to GPS, and it’s usually correct.

          Sure it’s a loss for the world to not have access to Dark Sky’s API, but it’s the difference of a few hundred thousand people using the app vs millions that will get it by default on their phones. This is why I’m “incredibly happy”.

          Google has enough money and resources. They can build their own.

        2. 1

          I’m semi-involved in the tech news bubble and I generally don’t see that kind of language. You might need to adjust the venues you visit.

          That said, I’m using Apple products (iphone, ipad, 2013 MBP) and I’m generally happy, but not in any way ecstatic. My next personal computer will probably be a Windows machine, if I can find one that’s focused on photo editing (high DPI display, good color correction) instead of gaming.

    9. 4

      Oof, I was hoping this was an April Fool’s day joke :(

    10. 3

      Ugh. Is there any Android weather app that’s in the same league?

      1. 10

        Virtually all well-designed weather apps were using Dark Sky’s API. That being said, Today Weather actually gives you the ability to select your preferred data source.

    11. 3

      Super sad. Need to be looking for a capable alternative now.

    12. 3

      Is there a good place to get minute-by-minute data for UK and Europe?

    13. 2

      Just checked, and it looks like https://wttr.in uses another API. I highly recommend it.

    14. 1

      Don’t understand how this is even going to benefit them- do they think that people are going to go out and buy an iPhone because of a weather app?

      1. 2

        They hardly have to do anything to get people to get an iPhone in the first place. Not everything is about comparative advantage; sometimes it’s about just making your product better so people stay loyal and keep buying.

        1. 1

          But is removing the product really making it better? I think I’m missing something here, just can’t understand their logic..

    15. 1

      Don’t use apps, or be subject to the profit-seeking whims of the companies you depend on.

      1. 2

        God forbid people try to make money.

        1. 0

          Yeah that’s what my comment means.

          1. 1

            Do you really think that’s sustainable? Also, forgive me if this is forward, but why did your comment originally read, “Yeah I want children to starve”? Just trying to get where you are coming from, as I see a lot of people with this opinion, but don’t always understand how they would rather the marketplace work.

            1. 1

              Do I think what’s sustainable? We have had Internet services for decades that don’t depend on a particular company writing client software for a particular platform.

      2. 1

        Fortunately the need for ‘apps’ is getting smaller with every improvement on the web-side of things. On platforms where the user is free to install real browsers - i.e. all platforms except for iOS - this gives the opportunity to tailor the environment to the needs of the user and the application: Firefox with uBlock, optionally completed with uMatrix, fake location data when needed, etc.

    16. 1

      Does anyone know if Apple has purchased apps like this before? If so, =did they end up making it free / integrating it into iOS? I’d never used Dark Sky before and it looks really good, but I’m not going to buy it now if Apple is going to do something like that soon.

      1. 6

        Siri was an app before Apple acquired the small team and its IP, for a ten years ago example.

      2. 5

        They bought an app called Workflow a couple of years ago and later re-launched it as Shortcuts, along with “Shortcuts integration” as a headlining iOS feature. IIRC the actual app doesn’t come preinstalled on iOS devices but you can get it for free from the App Store.

        If I had to guess, they’re probably going to integrate the Dark Sky app wholesale into the iPhone Weather app. (As John Gruber points out, Apple doesn’t have Weather apps for the iPad or for the Mac.) I’m not sure what will happen to the existing Dark Sky app, although I definitely agree with you that this would be a silly time to pay money for it.

      3. 4

        They also purchased Shazam and integrated its functionality into Siri and Apple Music. I’m not sure if its APIs were available to third-party developers prior to the acquisition, but I do know that its functionality is currently also built into Snapchat, for instance.

      4. 2

        Yeah, they took over a transit data app. I forget the name. They merged it into Apple Maps supposedly. Idk if that app had an android version, but it was a thing that got integrated into the OS.

        1. 4

          They did it twice: HopStop & Embark.

    17. 1

      I didn’t use the apps or the apis. Just the mobile web site. Is there anything else I could switch to?

      1. 2

        windy.com ?

        1. 1

          It’s… different but it works on Firefox. I’ll give it a go, thanks! :)