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Apple acquires app testing and advertising company Burstly

post #1 of 37
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The latest target of Apple's recently-busy mergers and acquisitions staff is Silicon Beach company Burstly, a deal that could bolster both the iAd platform and the Xcode development suite.

Burstly


Santa Monica, Calif.-based Burstly says they provide "solutions for the app lifecycle," supporting developers with app testing platform TestFlight and in-app ad management tool SkyRocket. News of the acquisition was first reported by TechCrunch.

Apple confirmed the deal to Re/code with the now-standard statement that "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Burstly has taken a number of steps to tighten its offerings in recent weeks, terminating TestFlight's Android support and deprecating access to its software development kit. Those actions now look to have been the result of the Apple agreement.

No financial terms were disclosed, and it is unclear whether Apple is interested in Burstly's technology, team, or both. So-called "acquihires," in which larger tech companies buy startups simply to assimilate their employees, have become increasingly common as competition for engineering and design talent heats up.

This is Apple's second known acquisition this year after the company bought photography app developer SnappyLabs early in January.
post #2 of 37
Wish apple would purchase foursquare (so Google or Microsoft doesn't)
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Werner View Post

Wish apple would purchase foursquare (so Google or Microsoft doesn't)

 

I don't want Apple buying companies for the sake of buying them. Many people also wish Apple would buy Twitter and Pebble, but if they don't have a use for them, then its wasteful to and hurtful to buy a company without a purpose. 

post #4 of 37
"AppleInsider reports on Apple's acquisition of smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally speculate about their purpose and plans." 1smile.gif

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #5 of 37
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Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I don't want Apple buying companies for the sake of buying them. Many people also wish Apple would buy Twitter and Pebble, but if they don't have a use for them, then its wasteful to and hurtful to buy a company without a purpose. 

Absolutely on the main point. Twitter isn't going to sell more iPhones. Square might though. Apple might have their own solution.
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post #6 of 37
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Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


Absolutely on the main point. Twitter isn't going to sell more iPhones. Square might though. Apple might have their own solution.

 

wouldn't the opposite be true? If they bought twitter and made it iOS only, it would sell more iPhones than Square would as more people use twitter than Square...

 

(yes i know you mean payment services, but the fact I would need an extra device to take a payment isn't too appealing)

 

P.S. I don't really want apple buying either company.

post #7 of 37
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Originally Posted by justp1ayin View Post

wouldn't the opposite be true? If they bought twitter and made it iOS only, it would sell more iPhones than Square would as more people use twitter than Square...

(yes i know you mean payment services, but the fact I would need an extra device to take a payment isn't too appealing)

P.S. I don't really want apple buying either company.

If they made Twitter iOS only they would lose the Android and Windows - and other - users who would instantly not be able to use twitter and all iOS and Mac users who wanted to talk to people cross platform.

To buy square is to buy the technology and technologists. Not the device. They may not need it.
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post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Absolutely on the main point. Twitter isn't going to sell more iPhones. Square might though. Apple might have their own solution.
I think the people who wanted Apple to buy Twitter thought/think Apple needs to be more social and it would bolster their cloud services. I'd like to see Applr acquire Square as I think it would fit nicely into a mobile payments strategy that Apple surely is working on.
post #9 of 37
For the bargain price of $19B

/s

I do agree, though, that Apple needs to think about acquiring more talented software dev teams and developers in the iOS department. Facebook swallowed Push Pop Press, Made by Sofa and Instagram. All three of which Apple should have acquired IMO. And don't we just know it's only a matter of time before Google, Facebook or Amazon acquires '53'. Apple needs to buy up these guys, and soon. It'll be a sad day indeed when 53 gets acquired by anyone but Apple, and it's gonna happen.

And don't get me started on Loren Brichter consulting for Facebook. If they hire him full time I'll be crying myself to sleep that night. Ive needs to hire Brichter as his right-hand software design man. He's the most talented iOS dev on the planet; Apple need him.
Edited by Ireland - 2/21/14 at 12:10pm
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 37
Pfft. Facebook won this week simply because spending $19bn > Apple spending. /s
post #11 of 37
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Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

And don't get me started on Loren Brichter consulting for Facebook. If they hire him full time I'll be crying myself to sleep that night. Ive needs to hire Brichter as his right-hand software design man. He's the most talented iOS dev on the planet; Apple need him.
I agree with you here. Apple should snatch up any talented software devs they can. And Loren Brighter is a good one. Although he might no want to go back to Apple.
post #12 of 37
I'd bet if Apple bought Square they could sell some pretty kick-ass cash register solution to small businesses at a pretty amazing price! Imagine the integration with iOS 9 that would have. The experience for coffee shop/small business owners and customers would probably be a dream solution. One can dream.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #13 of 37
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Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I agree with you here. Apple should snatch up any talented software devs they can. And Loren Brighter is a good one. Although he might no want to go back to Apple.

Let him work remotely, give him $50M, whatever it takes!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

For the bargain price of $19B

/s

I do agree, though, that Apple needs to think about acquiring more talented software dev teams and developers in the iOS department. Facebook swallowed Push Pop Press, Made by Sofa and Instagram. All three of which Apple should have acquired IMO. And don't we just know it's only a matter of time before Google, Facebook or Amazon acquires '53'. Apple needs to buy up these guys, and soon. It'll be a sad day indeed when 53 gets acquired by anyone but Apple, and it's gonna happen.

And don't get me started on Loren Brichter consulting for Facebook. If they hire him full time I'll be crying myself to sleep that night. Ive needs to hire Brichter as his right-hand software design man. He's the most talented iOS dev on the planet; Apple need him.

Seriously most people in Apple should be better than app devs as most people write code to a much higher standard and at a much lower level. The problem for everybody is that OS devs are not that common. And the best apple devs are calling in rich.
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post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'd bet if Apple bought Square they could sell some pretty kick-ass cash register solution to small businesses at a pretty amazing price! Imagine the integration with iOS 9 that would have. The experience for coffee shop/small business owners and customers would probably be a dream solution. One can dream.
Yes!!!
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

For the bargain price of $19B

/s

I do agree, though, that Apple needs to think about acquiring more talented software dev teams and developers in the iOS department. Facebook swallowed Push Pop Press, Made by Sofa and Instagram. All three of which Apple should have acquired IMO. And don't we just know it's only a matter of time before Google, Facebook or Amazon acquires '53'. Apple needs to buy up these guys, and soon. It'll be a sad day indeed when 53 gets acquired by anyone but Apple, and it's gonna happen.

And don't get me started on Loren Brichter consulting for Facebook. If they hire him full time I'll be crying myself to sleep that night. Ive needs to hire Brichter as his right-hand software design man. He's the most talented iOS dev on the planet; Apple need him.

Loren Brichter used to work at Apple.  I would think if he wanted to keep working there, he would have.

post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

For the bargain price of $19B

/s

I do agree, though, that Apple needs to think about acquiring more talented software dev teams and developers in the iOS department. Facebook swallowed Push Pop Press, Made by Sofa and Instagram. All three of which Apple should have acquired IMO. And don't we just know it's only a matter of time before Google, Facebook or Amazon acquires '53'. Apple needs to buy up these guys, and soon. It'll be a sad day indeed when 53 gets acquired by anyone but Apple, and it's gonna happen.

And don't get me started on Loren Brichter consulting for Facebook. If they hire him full time I'll be crying myself to sleep that night. Ive needs to hire Brichter as his right-hand software design man. He's the most talented iOS dev on the planet; Apple need him.

 

Mike Matas as well as a few other folks from PPP worked at Apple before. He left Apple because he wanted to start his own company. Instagram wasn't some revolutionary app. The UI was sort of unique but not game changing. I think the concept behind it is cool enough, but a big part of their success was dumb luck. The focused nature of the application helped. That is where the market, including Facebook, is going. Also, a couple of the Made by Sofa guys have already left Facebook. They released a web development app called Cactus (http://cactusformac.com). Truly creative folks don't stay at large organizations for too long.

 

As for Loren Brichter, he has constantly said publicly that he doesn't want to go back to working at a large company. He probably consulted on some of the physics stuff you see in Paper but that doesn't lead to him getting hired to work there permanently. He also worked at Apple. A lot of folks go to Apple to create great things but the cost of that is that you get burned out or because you work their, you can go anywhere and do anything. Having Apple as a previous employer gets you a lot of love in the Valley. Loren did an interview with Guy English and Rene Ritchie on Debug that goes into his philosophy. It's a good listen.

post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'd bet if Apple bought Square they could sell some pretty kick-ass cash register solution to small businesses at a pretty amazing price! Imagine the integration with iOS 9 that would have. The experience for coffee shop/small business owners and customers would probably be a dream solution. One can dream.

 

Square is on the road to an IPO. Their valuation is crazy right now. I also don't see how much Apple would gain. They already are making the money on the hardware sales, which is the high margin part of the equation. Also, for mobile payment processing, Apple handles more transactions then Square does. Between the App Store, iTunes Music, Movie and TV, they process a crazy amount of transactions. They have the infrastructure to expand it even more. I would bet they are further along in mobile payment processing then a lot of folks think. They have been tippy toeing into it and I wouldn't be surprised to see a massive push in the relatively near future.

post #19 of 37
Sigh. The truely creative smarts at Apple do more than write apps, and don't need to leave to be creative. Quick name all he members of the original tiny iOS team? Who was the guy who ported the classic OS to OS X? name a kernel engineer? who is writing the objective C standards and adding to the c language, ( ie blocks)? what about the compiler team? The web kit team? The uikit team?

Hopefully the real creatives are still at Apple.

Instagram is about talking to a web service and getting back text and pictures, and it's pretty slow at doing that. It's like my first App by the standards of most Apple engineers.
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post #20 of 37
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Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Sigh. The truely creative smarts at Apple do more than write apps, and don't need to leave to be creative. Quick name all he members of the original tiny iOS team? Who was the guy who ported the classic OS to OS X? name a kernel engineer? who is writing the objective C standards and adding to the c language, ( ie blocks)? what about the compiler team? The web kit team? The uikit team?

Hopefully the real creatives are still at Apple.

Instagram is about talking to a web service and getting back text and pictures, and it's pretty slow at doing that. It's like my first App by the standards of most Apple engineers.

 

Maybe I should have phrased it differently. Apple is a hyper focused company and for some, that is a constraint for them. It can work for Apple and against them.

 

I agree about Instagram. It was an app at the right place at the right time. Additionally, Instagram got bought because it was a threat to user engagement at Facebook. The same goes for WhatsApp. 

 

There are amazingly talented people at Apple, but just as with any company, people can get burned out or want a change. It happens to folks at any high stress or highly creative company. I owned a rather successful post production company. I enjoyed running the studio but at a certain point, I got really burned out and needed a change.

post #21 of 37
What burtsly do is, however, very clever. They do have to know the internals of the system, and work within the sandboxed limitations of iOS to allow quick and easy distribution of iOS apps( .ipa files) prior to release. Getting that into Xcode would be awesome. And this is one service where kicking out Android distribution helps Apple.
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post #22 of 37
To me, its a great sign that I usually have never heard of the companies that apple buys. It means their purchases are based on deep, intelligent research on what best serves their needs, and not name recognition.
post #23 of 37
I am now a bit worried about TestFlight. It's a very popular tool and it is indispensable in the software production cycle of many developers including me.
I hope Apple will integrate the platform with Dev portal and Xcode and not abandon it.
post #24 of 37
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Originally Posted by Earl Gray View Post

I am now a bit worried about TestFlight. It's a very popular tool and it is indispensable in the software production cycle of many developers including me.
I hope Apple will integrate the platform with Dev portal and Xcode and not abandon it.

Presumably integration is the reason to buy them. So life should get easier. Now they need increase the 100 device limit.
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post #25 of 37
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Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Seriously most people in Apple should be better than app devs as most people write code to a much higher standard and at a much lower level. The problem for everybody is that OS devs are not that common. And the best apple devs are calling in rich.

Brichter helped build/design iPhone OS 1.0 when he worked at Apple. He's the top dog.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #26 of 37
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Originally Posted by foad View Post

Mike Matas as well as a few other folks from PPP worked at Apple before.

I know the whole story. The Steve Jobs threats. The fact that Apple ripped his app off with iBooks Author. If Facebook acquired his company long after Jobs died Apple could have got him.
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post #27 of 37
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Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Brichter helped build/design iPhone OS 1.0 when he worked at Apple. He's the top dog.
Bas Ording also worked on iOS but he left Apple last year.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Instagram is about talking to a web service and getting back text and pictures, and it's pretty slow at doing that. It's like my first App by the standards of most Apple engineers.

Exaggerate much? Instagram was more than a my first app project, dude. It was a great social network until its dick owner sold out to Zuck and ruined the exclusive nature of it. If Apple had have acquired Instagram instead at the time or sooner for $1B and plugged the app and its "secure" network of the then 30,000,000 people right into the Photos app that would have kicked ass!! And that "square" aspect ratio in Camera would now be called Instagram. All that would be better for iOS than the current setup we have. Built right into iOS the network would probably have more than its current 150M actively monthly users, and the general quality of user and photography would be better too. That's what I'd have loved Instagram to have been and that's why I wish Apple would have acquired them. And for Apple it would make the iPhone even more appealing.
Edited by Ireland - 2/21/14 at 2:47pm
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post #29 of 37
Oh yeah. Bas is Mr Aqua, Mr OS X, probably lead designer on iOS. Did he leave because of the flatness?
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post #30 of 37
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Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Exaggerate much? Instagram was more than a my first app project, dude. It was a great social network until its dick owner sold out to Zuck and ruined the exclusive nature of it. If Apple had have acquired Instagram instead at the time or sooner for $1B and plugged the app and its "secure" network of the then 30,000,000 people right into the photos app the Photos app would kick apps. And that "square" aspect ratio in Camera would now be called Instagram. All that would be better for iOS than the current setup we have.

I was talking about the level of engineering challenge involved - since you were talking about hiring great devs. Great devs are often anonymous, no kernel engineer or assembly programmer is going to be as famous as a shiny app. But the main thing that Instagram does is talk to a web service, parse the JSON or XML, display in a list and show pictures. Which isn't rocket science. To my mind it does that very badly. But that may be a design consideration ( the app would be much faster if it quickly downloaded less quality images and then, when scrolling stops, update the images to higher quality.).

It has marketing genius and clout, no real software or design talent.
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post #31 of 37
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Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

It has marketing genius and clout, no real software or design talent.

The end user doesn't even know what code is. I was referring to UI, design, concept, idea, and the certain je ne sais quoi the network had all the while it was iOS exclusive. That was a company, feature and exclusive network I think Apple should have acted upon. In terms of good engineering I wasn't really pointing to Instagram for that. Mike Mathas? Brichter? Now you're talkin'. But I'm speaking more to design than anything.
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post #32 of 37
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Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Oh yeah. Bas is Mr Aqua, Mr OS X, probably lead designer on iOS. Did he leave because of the flatness?

 

Flatness has been a dud so far, at least it isn't Ribbons.

post #33 of 37
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Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

To me, its a great sign that I usually have never heard of the companies that apple buys. It means their purchases are based on deep, intelligent research on what best serves their needs, and not name recognition.

 

Apple over year's have bought companies that fit into a existing on going project, they don't seem to buy companies just for the sake of buying them, and then try to fit them in afterwards, that's why there won't be any big wasteful billion dollar acquisitions. Unless it's Tesla.

post #34 of 37
"....terminating TestFlight's Android support and deprecating access.."

Music to my ears
post #35 of 37
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Originally Posted by SailorPaul View Post

"....terminating TestFlight's Android support and deprecating access.."

Music to my ears

Less important to android devs as they can just send their apks by email. However if google bought these guys iOS devs would have been shagged.
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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Oh yeah. Bas is Mr Aqua, Mr OS X, probably lead designer on iOS. Did he leave because of the flatness?
No idea. According to his linked in profile he was at Apple for 15 years so maybe he just wanted to do something different.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

To me, its a great sign that I usually have never heard of the companies that apple buys. It means their purchases are based on deep, intelligent research on what best serves their needs, and not name recognition.
It seems like Apple buys technology based on future plans but the technology gets integrated into an Apple designed solution. They don't say "here's a hole we have so let's buy company X to fill that hole". Google does that all the time. Apple rarely, if ever buys a company because just to eliminate a competitor. That's clearly what Facebook did with Whatsapp. I think it's quite remarkable that Apple has become the most valuable company in the world without ever making a large acquisition. Everything they've done for the most part has been organic.

All the Wall Street types screaming for Apple to spend $$$ on some large acquisition are just looking for some short term growth without thinking about how difficult it is to integrate large companies and especially how difficult it would be to integrate into Apple's org structure and culture. Not many large companies are organized functionally. If Apple was like a typical large company, Mac, iPhone and iPad would all be their own divisions with their own hardware, software, marketing, etc. leaders and their own P&L ownership. In the case of Apple it's one set of functional leaders who have ownership across product lines. Very difficult to integrate another large company into a setup like that.
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