Samsung buying Viv, the AI assistant developed by Siri creators

By Cody Lee on Oct 5, 2016

Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, the next-gen AI assistant that was developed by Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer. TechCrunch reports that it will continue to operate as an independent company, providing services to Samsung and its platforms.

Viv made numerous headlines earlier this year, when the team demonstrated the power of its assistant. In one scenario, it was able to successfully order a pizza over the Internet customized with toppings from several employees with a few simple voice commands. Read More


Spotify said to be in advanced talks to buy SoundCloud

By Cody Lee on Sep 28, 2016

Spotify is in advanced talks to acquire SoundCloud, reports the Financial Times. The streaming music service believes the buyout could help it better compete with competitors like Apple Music thanks to its large library of exclusive and user-created content. Read More


Apple buys machine learning startup Tuplejump

By Cody Lee on Sep 22, 2016

Apple has acquired an India/US-based machine learning startup known as Tuplejump, reports TechCrunch. The company has essentially confirmed the buyout, offering up its typical “Apple buys smaller technology companies” statement.

This is the iPhone-maker’s third publicly-known purchase of a machine learning company within the last year. Remember it bought out artificial intelligence startup Perceptio at the end of last year, and Seattle-based Turi a few months ago. Read More


Apple’s spun Turi into its machine learning division

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 31, 2016

After acquiring machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) startup Turi for a reported $200 million, Apple is now ramping up hiring for its new machine learning division and has spun Turi into that unit, according to job posts first discovered by MacRumors. Apple’s new division should remain in Seattle, where Turi was originally based. Read More


Apple acquires AI startup Turi for a reported $200 million

By Cody Lee on Aug 5, 2016

Apple has acquired machine learning and artificial intelligence startup Turi, reports GeekWire. Citing sources close to the deal, the outlet says the purchase price was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, and the team will stay on and continue its work.

Turi, formerly Dato, builds platforms for developing intelligent applications using machine learning technology. Its products are used by a number of Fortune 500 companies for fraud detection, recommendation engines, lead scoring and other predictive capabilities. Read More


Apple-backed Didi Chuxing buys rival Uber China

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 1, 2016

Now we (probably) know why Apple poured a cool $1 billion into China’s leading ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing as that company’s just invested—you guessed right—$1 billion into its biggest rival, Uber China. The transaction, subject to closing conditions, will also give a 20 percent stake in the combined firm for Uber and its shareholders, said Bloomberg. Read More


NYT music reporter claims Apple won’t be acquiring Tidal after all

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2016

The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday claiming that Apple was in “exploratory talks” to acquire music service Tidal, which rap mogul Jay-Z bought in March 2015 for a reported $56 million.

Ostensibly, Apple’s interest in Tidal revolves around its strong ties to artists: since the Jay-Z deal, Tidal has given 19 famous artists small stakes in the firm.

The Journal article cautioned that the current discussions might not result in a deal and now Ben Sisario, a music reporter at The New York Times, cited “two highly placed sources” as saying that Apple won’t be buying Tidal anytime soon. Read More


Apple said to be in talks to acquire streaming music service Tidal

By Cody Lee on Jun 30, 2016

Apple is in talks to acquire the streaming music service Tidal, reports The Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the matter, the outlet says the iPhone-maker is exploring the idea because of the service’s strong ties to artists.

Rap mogul Jay-Z bought Tidal in March 2015 for $56 million, and has since given 19 famous artists small stakes in the company. The current talks with Apple may not result in a deal, and it’s unknown what terms have been discussed. Read More


Apple looking to buy troubled iPhone graphics provider Imagination Technologies

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 22, 2016

Ars Technica reported this morning that Apple is in “advanced talks” regarding a possible takeover of British fabless semiconductor maker Imagination Technologies. The chip designer develops GPU blueprints that other companies license and incorporate into their own chips.

Apple owns at least a 9.5 percent stake in Imagination and has long used their PowerVR line of graphics-processing units (GPU) inside its own A-series processors since the emergence of the A4 chip, which powered the original iPad, the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch. Read More


Facebook acquires company behind popular face swapping app MSQRD

By Cody Lee on Mar 9, 2016

Facebook on Wednesday announced that it has acquired the popular face swapping app MSQRD, and the company behind it, Masquerade. The terms of the deal are unknown, but it’s being reported that the founders will be joining Facebook.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the app, MSQRD allows you to apply various filters and effects to your photos and videos—not unlike Snapchat’s ‘lenses.’ You can apply masks, hats and other accessories, or simply swap faces with others. Read More


Foxconn to acquire Sharp for $6.2 billion

By Cody Lee on Feb 24, 2016

Apple partner Foxconn is set to acquire Sharp for roughly 700 billion yen (or $6.2 billion USD), reports Nikkei Asian Review. The outlet says that Sharp’s board voted on Thursday morning to accept the offer, and plans to restructure its operations under the Hon Hai umbrella.

The deal, which has not been officially announced yet, comes after years of failed negotiations between the two companies. Foxconn has made several attempts to acquire the struggling electronics giant, or large pieces of it, with the latest offer of $5.3 billion coming in January. Read More


SwiftKey acquired by Microsoft for $250 million

By Cody Lee on Feb 2, 2016

Microsoft is buying out software keyboard maker SwiftKey, according to a report from The Financial Times. The deal is said to be worth $250 million, and the two companies are expected to officially announce the acquisition later this week.

While Microsoft has shown interest in the mobile keyboard space, the report claims that the purchase is all about AI. SwiftKey uses artificial intelligence to predict the next word a user is going to type based on an analysis of their writing style. Read More


Zagg acquires battery case maker Mophie for $100 million

By Cody Lee on Feb 2, 2016

Zagg has acquired popular battery case maker Mophie, the two companies announced on Tuesday. The Utah-based accessory giant has agreed to pay $100 million for Mophie, plus any EBITDA adjustments over that amount for the next year, in cash and debt.

In a press release sent out this afternoon, Zagg said that the transaction will leverage the unique strength of two “industry leaders” in the mobile accessories sector to create a business with greater product diversification and improved operational capabilities. Read More


Apple acquires education startup LearnSprout

By Cody Lee on Jan 28, 2016

Apple has acquired education-technology startup LearnSprout, reports Bloomberg. The outlet has received confirmation of the buyout with the boilerplate statement, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Terms of the deal are not known at this time, but we do know that the San Francisco-based LearnSprout has raised more than $4 million from investors. The company specializes in education tracking and analytical software, which it has rolled out to more than 2,500 US schools. Read More


Apple buys motion capture firm Faceshift

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2015

Apple has acquired a Zürich, Germany-based startup FaceShift which provides a proprietary technology for real-time motion capture that was used in the latest Star Wars film and in production of a number of high-profile video games. Apple has officially confirmed the deal in a prepared statement to TechCrunch.

Speculation is rife as to how Apple might be taking advantage of such a sophisticated motion capture technology in its own products, including potentially using it to power real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats. Read More


Google acquires iPhone app-maker Fly Labs for its Photos team

By Cody Lee on Nov 6, 2015

Fly Labs, the maker of popular photo and video editing apps for iOS, announced on Friday that it’s been acquired by Google. The company’s software library includes apps like Clips, Tempo, Crop, and Fly, which made Apple’s ‘Best of the App Store’ list in 2014.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we do know that the folks at Fly Labs will be joining the Google Photos team and plan on pulling their apps from the App Store in 3 months. As a peace offering, they have made all of their apps free with no IAPs until then. Read More


Activision Blizzard is buying Candy Crush Saga maker King Digital for $5.9 billion

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 3, 2015

Renowned games publisher Activision Blizzard is purchasing King Digital, the maker of the popular Candy Crush Saga videogame series, in a transaction valued at a whooping $5.9 billion, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Activision, best-known for the World of Warcraft, Diablo and Call of Duty videogame series, said ABS Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of King for $18 in cash per share, for a total equity value of $5.9 billion. Read More


Apple acquires AI startup Perceptio

By Cody Lee on Oct 5, 2015

Following news last week that Apple acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, Bloomberg reports that the company has also recently picked up AI startup Perceptio. A spokesman for Apple has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More


Apple acquires UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ

By Cody Lee on Oct 2, 2015

Apple has acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, according to a report from the Financial Times. A spokesman for the Cupertino company has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More


Apple acquires mapping visualization startup Mapsense

By Cody Lee on Sep 16, 2015

Apple has acquired Mapsense, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in tools for analyzing and visualizing location data, Recode reports. A spokesperson confirmed the buyout, saying “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

The deal is said to be worth anywhere between $25 million and $30 million, and it includes Mapsense’s 12-person team and technology. That tech includes a cloud-based tool that allows users to manipulate graphical models of maps that hold huge sums of data, and a recently launched platform for developers. Read More

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