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37signals (news, site) make the popular Campfire Web-based collaboration tool. Rather than develop their own iPhone app, they just went and brought one,

Not Reinventing the Wheel

With ever larger numbers of users keeping in touch via enterprise 2.0 collaboration tools, it's no surprise to see large numbers of iPhone tools. Developer Overcommited is a niche iPhone app maker that has some fun products in its portfolio along with Ember, an App to bring Campfire conversations to your Apple smartphone.

37signals has just purchased Ember and moved it from a paid for to a free product. This is a solid example of a company not needing to do its own development due to the breadth of iPhone developers already out there. Another example was Twitter buying Tweetie and saving itself a load of hassle.

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Ember for Campfire
 

Ember allows users to access multiple Campfire accounts, catch up on previous conversations, post new messages and view images. With 37Signals claiming over 5 million users, a fair proportion of them probably have iPhones and will welcome the app to their arsenals.

On a related note, 37signals also announced an update for Draft, its iPad rapid sketching tool for Campfire. This adds unlimited redo and undo and sharing locations for your creations.