Apple has acquired talent and technology from defunct streaming music startup Omnifone, reports TechCrunch. It’s not a full buyout, so you’re not going to see the usual “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time” statement, but the outlet says it’s hired at least 16 of their employees and purchased select technology.
The news emerged as Omnifone’s original founder, Rob Lewis (who was no longer with Omnifone in its final years), prepares for his latest streaming music venture, Electric Jukebox, to launch its first product this week: a music player that plugs into your TV, and a controller that looks a little like a microphone.
[…] But it’s not clear what technology Apple might have picked up and which patents it might include, if any. Omnifone has over 50 patents registered to it, covering areas like digital media identification, streaming and downloading. A source claims that some of the tech has also found its way into Apple Music and iTunes, although Apple declined to comment on any specifics when we asked.
Omnifone, founded in 2003 in London, was one of the first companies to try to build a business around unlimited music streaming services for mobile devices. At its high point, Omnifone had global deals with labels and snagged a number of large companies as clients including handset makers BlackBerry and Sony-Ericsson.
Apple has made a number of large acquisitions to aid its streaming music efforts including companies LaLa, Beats and Semetric. There were rumors earlier this year that Apple was the anonymous buyer of $10 million worth of IP in Omnifone’s bankruptcy filing, but the speculation was shot down by The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple.