Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has added yet another notch to its acquisition belt for 2014. As first reported by TechCrunch, Apple has recently acquired Burstly, the company behind the mobile app testing platform TestFlight and mobile app monetization platform SkyRocket. Although Apple has not revealed any details of the deal, company spokesperson Kristin Huguet confirmed the purchase via Bloomberg.
Unlike many other major tech companies, Apple does not usually seek to acquire large businesses. Instead, the company focuses on buying smaller companies whenever it needs to acquire a specific technology to augment or create a certain product or a service. For example, Apple has purchased several mapping app companies in order to improve its native Apple Maps app, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data company BroadMap, location data company Locationary, and mass transit navigation app company HopStop.
Before the purchase was confirmed by Apple, TechCrunch’s sources noted several occurrences that seem to strongly suggest that the Cupertino-based company had bought Burstly. For example, earlier this week, TestFlight revealed that it would no longer support beta testing for Android apps. TestFlight also recently announced that it was discontinuing its software development kit (SDK.) TechCrunch also noted that Burstly had recently shut down its nascent mobile app analytics platform, FlightPath. The FlightPath address now redirects to the TestFlight website.
However, the biggest clue that suggested that the company had been acquired by Apple may have been Burstly’s own evasiveness in handling inquiries about the company’s future plans. As noted by TechCrunch, Burstly has been asking developers to email the company individually, rather than making a simple public announcement. Apple is notoriously secretive about the companies it buys and usually only acknowledges acquisitions by stating that, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”Although Apple has yet to spend a significant percentage of its cash hoard on an acquisition, CEO Tim Cook revealed during the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call that Apple bought three times as many small companies in fiscal 2013 than it did in the previous year. “We also completed fifteen strategic acquisitions,” said Cook. “That’s an average of one acquisition every three to four weeks.”
Apple continued its unusually high acquisition spending in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. According to the company’s 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple paid out $525 million for business acquisitions during the quarter ending in December, nearly double what it spent in the year-ago quarter.
One of Apple’s most recent acquisitions was SnappyLabs, the company behind the popular SnappyCam iPhone camera app. Apple also purchased the Israel-based 3D vision and motion-sensing technology company PrimeSense. Although it is unknown what Apple’s plans for Burstly might be, the Cupertino-based company could be planning to overhaul its current app review process by utilizing Burstly’s various platforms.
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