Flush with cash and boasting the largest mobile app ecosystem in the smartphone world, Apple has snapped up an apps search company. The technology aims to make it easier for consumers to find the applications they want amid the hundreds of thousand of applications on the market. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Known as Chomp, the San Francisco-based search engine asks a simple question: "What kind of app are you looking for?" Users can select a radio button for iPhone, iPad or Android. There are also links to categories such as "Free Apps of the Day," "Trending Apps," "All Time Greats," "On Sale, "Top Twitter Apps," and "New Apps."
Chomp takes app searching a step further with suggested searches, which include categories like shooter games, mortgage calculator, social networking, poker and flight simulators. There's also a mobile version of the search engine for the Apple and Android operating systems.
What will Apple do with Chomp's technology? "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple said in a published statement.
Apple clearly sees value in Chomp technology -- and so did investors. Venture capital firms and angel investors including BlueRun Ventures, Ron Conway and SV Angel, Aydin Senkut, David Lee, Brian Pokorny and Auren Hoffman backed Chomp before Apple gobbled up the company.
"Chomp brings useful technology and a talented team of people who can help Apple and its developers solve the challenge of app discovery. Both consumers and developers are frustrated by the overwhelming number of apps and the difficulties that poses for everyone," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
"Even though the Chomp team and investors made out incredibly well -- assuming the Bloomberg report was accurate -- this is a small amount of money for Apple. Apple may also feel that an improved App Store experience contributes to competitive differentiation as well."
Apple's Cash Overflow
Although Apple didn't disclose how much it spent on Chomp, it doesn't seem to matter at some level. Apple CEO Tim Cook told listeners at the company's annual shareholders meeting on Thursday that the company has more cash than it needs to run the company. Specifically, Apple has more than $97.6 billion cash and investments. Cook told shareholders he was in "active discussion" about what to do with the money.
One of the rumors is that Apple will begin paying shareholders a dividend. Apple stopped the practice in 1995 when the company was in financial straits and turned to Microsoft for a $150 million loan.
Either way, Apple shareholders have plenty to smile about. Company shares continue gaining, rising to more than $515 per share in early morning trading. The company has not suffered any market share or taken any stock hit since Cook took over for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Posted: 2012-03-01 @ 4:31am PT
Chomp helps users search for and discover new apps not only by name, but also by topic and by app function. It's great to know that Apple have acquired the Chomp.