Sep 27, 2019

Open source champion Automattic raises $300M, but developer mindshare is uncertain

Automattic’s latest fundraising represents a noteworthy triumph for open source technology, an open web, and the continued development of tools widely available and easily accessible to developers around the world. Yet, software development is changing quickly and uncertainty looms over the future of WordPress, Automattic’s blogging tool turned content management system.

Automattic needs extra fuel to fight against considerable headwinds in its pursuit of an internet dominated by the WordPress ecosystem.

WordPress is working to overcome the declining popularity of PHP and its community infighting amid an exodus of developers toward decoupled architectures and static websites. Moreover, WordPress’s precarious security reputation and growing maintenance requirements to support dozens of old platform versions also pose substantial obstacles.

Can money reverse these macrotrends?

As the owner of, WooCommerce, and soon Tumblr, Automattic impacts a sizable portion of the internet’s content. With the backing of Salesforce Ventures, that influence will receive a much-needed boost. According to Matt Mullenweg, Automattic’s CEO, “What we want to do is become the operating system for the open web.”

Despite powering 37% of internet sites, WordPress needs Automattic to preemptively adapt to changing development needs and retain developer mindshare in the long term.

Want to get more of these in your inbox?

Subscribe for weekly updates from the Software team.