Instapaper founder Marco Arment has just announced that he doesn't own his creation anymore. Betaworks, which also owns Digg, has acquired a majority stake in the read-it-later service. In a post on his personal blog, Arment explains that Instapaper had grown beyond its original beginnings in 2008 as a web-only service, and that maintaining it was no longer feasible for a one-person operation. "To really shine, it needs a full-time staff of at least a few people," he writes; hence the deal with Betaworks.
While it was an early pioneer in the world of iOS apps, in recent years Instapaper has faced increased competition from services like Pocket and Readability. However, Arment is quick to point out that the Betaworks deal places the "health and longevity" of Instapaper as "the top priority," and that he will continue to stay on as an advisor to the product indefinitely. But the deal could have even more interesting future ramifications for Betaworks.
Last year Betaworks acquired Digg in a deal reportedly worth $500,000. A redesigned Digg followed soon after, doubling the site's users in the process. But in March Digg announced it would be creating a replacement for Google Reader after it became clear that service would be shutting down. Combining the functionality of Instapaper with such a service is an obvious fit — many RSS clients on iOS already feature built-in Instapaper support — and it could conceivably allow Digg's eventual replacement to be an even more full-featured product than Google Reader itself.