They probably had to have a deal in place with wolfram alpha every time the API was used, meaning they were paying wolfram alpha for api access.

So having contributors build an identical conversion IA made more financial sense in the long term, since they could just add features as users asked for them rather then offload it to Wolfram Alpha.

Of course I'm mass guessing and I could very well be wrong.
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 3 months ago Link