Apple said to be acquiring media sharing startup Color Labs

It seems like Apple’s on a bit of a shopping spree this week. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s revelation that the company acquired web app firm Particle, comes another scoop about an acquisition.

A new report is out tonight claiming that Apple is about to buyout Color Labs, a Palo Alto-based social startup that allows users to share photos and videos through its Android and iOS apps…

Though it garnered a lot of early attention, Color has struggled to find its place among the many other social networks. In fact, VentureBeat reported yesterday that the company was shutting down.

But according to The Next Web, that’s not the case. It says Bill Nguyen, Color’s founder, has been looking to sell the company for months. And has been shopping the startup around to potential suitors.

And one of those suitors just happened to be Apple. The company, specifically its SVP Eddie Cue, had a previous relationship with Nguyen. It bought Lala, a streaming music service, from him back in 2009.

But what could Apple want with a struggling media sharing startup? The Next Web explains:

“We would look to Color’s patents, which may include one for a file format that they were working on to record HD video. Color said that it had six patents pending at the time of its funding, including its ‘elastic’ social graph and patents related to GPS location and battery saving. iOS developer Daniel Jalkut uncovered several patent applications that Color has filed for in the last couple of months that have names like “sharing content among a group of devices” and “user device group formation”.

All of those patents reference a provisional application filed back in March of 2012 on the multiple device method. It’s not much of a stretch to say these patents could be applied to Apple’s Photo Stream feature in iOS 6.”

The deal is described as done, but not finalized. Papers have yet to be signed. And as for money, the report says the price tag is somewhere in the “high double digit” range of millions of dollars.

Interestingly enough, Google reportedly offered to buy Color for $200 million last July. But it turned down the deal.