Apple acquires Chomp to make app discovery better

Apple has acquired Chomp, a startup focused on app discovery, reports MG Siegler of TechCrunch. Chomp launched in 2009 and has earned around $2.5 million in venture funding to date. Apple is bringing on the Chomp team and its technologies in hopes of improving app discovery…

Apple has bought the app search and discovery platform Chomp, we’ve learned.

We first covered Chomp in November 2009 to announce their seed funding. Since then, they’ve grown their scope to include not only iPhone apps, but Android apps as well. In fact, Chomp currently has a deal with Verizon to power all of their Android-based app searches. That relationship, obviously, is going to get a bit awkward with this acquisition.

My understanding is that such deals will remain intact for now but are likely to end once the Chomp team and product transitions over to Apple. 

Chomp currently has an app available on the iTunes App Store that recommends new apps to users. Chomp also has a similar app on the Android Market and a deal with Verizon to help power all of their Android-based app searches. TechCrunch says these deals will continue for awhile, but will end as the Chomp team transitions into Apple.

While no terms of the deal have been released, TechCrunch says this was most likely an expensive acquisition for Apple. Chomp has a robust product, along with 20 employees that will all be headed to Apple.

With the amount of apps on the App Store, Apple will benefit from Chomp by using it to better search technologies in Apple’s products.

Apple is currently sitting on $100 billion in cash. While its made acquisitions in the past, Apple isn’t really known for doing so. Most recently, Apple acquired Israeli-based flash storage startup Anobit for a reported $500 million. It’s nice to see Apple finally spending more of that cash.

A few days ago, 9to5mac’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was looking to make improvements to its iTunes Store and App Store later this year. Chomp could certainly be apart of that plan.

We’re waiting on official word out of Apple and/or Chomp.

Update: Apple has released a short statement.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans.”