Apple reportedly bought Color's talent, but not the company

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple didn't buy social video startup Color, but it did acquire its engineering team of about 20 employees for as much as $5 million, according to a new report.

Disputing a rumor that surfaced on Wednesday claiming that Apple had bought Color, Liz Gannes of All Things D revealed on Thursday that Apple instead "acqhired" Color's engineering team. The employees were said to have been picked up for somewhere between $2 million and $5 million.

That would mean that earlier claims that Apple had bought Color for "double-digit millions" were incorrect. Instead, Apple made a relatively small talent acquisition of about 20 personnel.

"Apple is not buying Color?s technology, intellectual property, domain names or liabilities," Gannes said. "Those are being left with the company, which still has considerable cash in the bank ? something like $25 million ? and is going to be wound down."

Color Labs

"Color" app logo. | Source: Color Labs


A flurry of rumors and misinformation related to Color were attributed to "bad blood" that has apparently formed between Color employees, company CEO Bill Nguyen, ex-employees, investors, and even Apple itself.

Founded by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham in 2011, Color Labs was at the center of some controversy after netting $41 million in a pre-launch funding round, a massive investment compared to the usual $1 million in seed money seen by most comparable start-ups. The company released a photo-sharing app, though the initiative failed to draw users, prompting Pham to exit three months after launch and Chief Product Officer DJ Patil to do the same one month later.

Nguyen changed strategies and created a new video-sharing app that allows users to record and post 30-second silent video to Facebook, a direction that netted Color a deal with Verizon in May.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,290member
    That's a new twist on head hunting!
  • Reply 2 of 38


    "I'm Tim Cook, not CEO of Color, Inc. I liked the talent so much… I didn't buy the company."

  • Reply 3 of 38
    irelandireland Posts: 17,128member


    Grubes.

  • Reply 4 of 38
    neilmneilm Posts: 526member
    They brought back slavery and I didn't notice? How does one "acquire" an engineering team?

    Hire them? Sure. Sign up bonus? Good for them! But acquire...? I don't think so.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member
    There is obviously much more to this story, this is just plain odd that you pay Millions to hire employee's Apple could have just gone through a third party head hunter and done the same things for less money. This seem really unusual, there must be something else going on.
  • Reply 6 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post



    They brought back slavery and I didn't notice? How does one "acquire" an engineering team?

    Hire them? Sure. Sign up bonus? Good for them! But acquire...? I don't think so.


     


    They sign an employment contract.

  • Reply 7 of 38
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post



    They brought back slavery and I didn't notice? How does one "acquire" an engineering team?

    Hire them? Sure. Sign up bonus? Good for them! But acquire...? I don't think so.


     


    Indeed.  The hideous writing and comprehension skills of Apple Insider's staff are highlighted yet again.  


     


    Seriously.  About half the articles here (and on most tech sites), wouldn't pass muster in my Grade 8 English class.  No exaggeration at all.  These "writers" would have failed the class completely and have to do it again, but yet here they are with actual jobs as adult "journalists."  Amazing.  


     


    This is how it feels to live in the "age of dumbassery."   :-/ 

  • Reply 8 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post



    They brought back slavery and I didn't notice? How does one "acquire" an engineering team?

    Hire them? Sure. Sign up bonus? Good for them! But acquire...? I don't think so.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Indeed.  The hideous writing and comprehension skills of Apple Insider's staff are highlighted yet again.  


     


    Seriously.  About half the articles here (and on most tech sites), wouldn't pass muster in my Grade 8 English class.  No exaggeration at all.  These "writers" would have failed the class completely and have to do it again, but yet here they are with actual jobs as adult "journalists."  Amazing.  


     


    This is how it feels to live in the "age of dumbassery."   :-/ 



     




    It's done quite often, and it is a frequently used term. I am afraid you two guys are the dumbasses here.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    That's a new twist on head hunting!


     


    Not at all new.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post



    There is obviously much more to this story, this is just plain odd that you pay Millions to hire employee's Apple could have just gone through a third party head hunter and done the same things for less money. This seem really unusual, there must be something else going on.


     


    This is commonly done. Google and Facebook have also acquired entire software teams before.


     


    Sure, you cannot force someone to work for you. But there are various possibilities why the Colors team (or any team) wants to stay together: 1. They are loyal to a particular manager who will be moving to Apple. 2. There are non-compete clauses in their TOE that prevent them from working on similar technology for someone else. 3. Their stock options continue vesting, perhaps with some sugar sprinkled on top.


     


    Why wouldn't Apple just hire these engineers? 1. There may be non-compete clauses in their TOE. 2. There are multiple individuals who are valuable, and "acquiring" them as a team ensures continuity, completeness and prevents anyone from joining a competitor.


     


    Sometimes, it could be as simple as Apple saying, "Here's $5M, Bill N. Let us talk to your team now and convince them to join us before they jump ship."


     


    If you have not worked at a high tech company before (or law firm, a consultancy or investment firm), you might find this offensive or foreign. But it's not a novel concept.

  • Reply 9 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Grubes.





    Looks like he's blaming Panzarino and Yeung at TNW.

  • Reply 10 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Indeed.  The hideous writing and comprehension skills of Apple Insider's staff are highlighted yet again.  


     


    Seriously.  About half the articles here (and on most tech sites), wouldn't pass muster in my Grade 8 English class.  No exaggeration at all.  These "writers" would have failed the class completely and have to do it again, but yet here they are with actual jobs as adult "journalists."  Amazing.  


     


    This is how it feels to live in the "age of dumbassery."   :-/ 



    Unfortunately, the Internet (largely) and computer technology has allowed anybody with a computer, some free time and a couple of synapse in their head to call themselves, 'journalists' or 'writers'.  I can't tell you how many of my otherwise brain dead friends think they are full fledged 'writers' because they have a blog and 3 trolls sending them fan email on a regular basis.  It's no different than the hundreds of thousands of wannabe musicians who have a Pro Tool setup in their bedroom making CD's and posting the same on CDBaby then call themselves 'musicians'.  Just because someone knows what a pen, a paint brush or a guitar pick looks like doesn't make them an artist, a 'professional' or even more importantly, talented.

  • Reply 11 of 38
    guyrguyr Posts: 41member


    As a side note, I am surprised that no one from the British Royal Air Force hasn't sued the company for use of their roundel which they put on their planes, as this company's logo.

  • Reply 13 of 38


    Originally Posted by GuyR View Post

    As a side note, I am surprised that no one from the British Royal Air Force hasn't sued the company for use of their roundel which they put on their planes, as this company's logo.


     


    They'll just have to apologize for using it, is all.

  • Reply 14 of 38
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple didn't buy social video startup Color, but it did acquire its engineering team of about 20 employees for as much as $5 million, according to a new report.


     


    Wow.  What ever happened to good old-fashioned "hiring"?

  • Reply 15 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,290member
    Come on report on Google's devastating profit drop AI!
  • Reply 16 of 38


    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    Come on report on Google's devastating profit drop AI!


     


    lol.


     



     


    Apple's down too, but not $68 a share!

  • Reply 17 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Indeed.  The hideous writing and comprehension skills of Apple Insider's staff are highlighted yet again.  


     


    Seriously.  About half the articles here (and on most tech sites), wouldn't pass muster in my Grade 8 English class.  No exaggeration at all.  These "writers" would have failed the class completely and have to do it again, but yet here they are with actual jobs as adult "journalists."  Amazing.  


     


    This is how it feels to live in the "age of dumbassery."   :-/ 



     


     


    I think that your right about the  quality of the writing and editing here.  But I don't think that is the whole story to explain why this site has so few readers.  There seem to be a relatively small group of troublemakers who shout down any dissenting viewpoints (it should be obvious who they are) and that discourages new and repeat readers.  They take extreme postions, and if anybody disagrees with them, they get lambasted.  I think that is the main problem here.


     


    Different viewpoints should be encouraged, but if anybody fails to tow the party line, they get the shaft!

  • Reply 18 of 38
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member

    I think that your right about the  quality of the writing and editing here.  But I don't think that is the whole story to explain why this site has so few readers.  There seem to be a relatively small group of troublemakers who shout down any dissenting viewpoints (it should be obvious who they are) and that discourages new and repeat readers.  They take extreme postions, and if anybody disagrees with them, they get lambasted.  I think that is the main problem here.

    Different viewpoints should be encouraged, but if anybody fails to tow the party line, they get the shaft!

    I think we're OK on different viewpoints. What we don't always let slide is abuse from fandroids, telling us we're all iSheep or iTards, or parroting Android talking points while saying Apple products are junk. Sometimes we do get honest people that don't realize they're posting the same way trolls do.
  • Reply 19 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post





    I think we're OK on different viewpoints. What we don't always let slide is abuse from fandroids, telling us we're all iSheep or iTards, or parroting Android talking points. And sometimes we get honest people that don't realize they're posting the same way trolls do.


     


    Then do you agree with the origi8nal poster that the low amount of traffic here is due to the poor editorial content?

  • Reply 20 of 38

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post


    This is commonly done. Google and Facebook have also acquired entire software teams before.


     


    Sure, you cannot force someone to work for you. But there are various possibilities why the Colors team (or any team) wants to stay together: 1. They are loyal to a particular manager who will be moving to Apple. 2. There are non-compete clauses in their TOE that prevent them from working on similar technology for someone else. 3. Their stock options continue vesting, perhaps with some sugar sprinkled on top.


     


    Why wouldn't Apple just hire these engineers? 1. There may be non-compete clauses in their TOE. 2. There are multiple individuals who are valuable, and "acquiring" them as a team ensures continuity, completeness and prevents anyone from joining a competitor.


     


    Sometimes, it could be as simple as Apple saying, "Here's $5M, Bill N. Let us talk to your team now and convince them to join us before they jump ship."


     


    If you have not worked at a high tech company before (or law firm, a consultancy or investment firm), you might find this offensive or foreign. But it's not a novel concept.



    One option.  especially if there are IP or patents that need transferring.


     


    Or get the team leads to agree to jump (and most team leads can get their entire group to work with them if work stays the same and salary/work-stress ratio is better) by replacing their worthless equity options with 'attractive' apple options, and 'free access to Apple's Employment Lawyers*'.  Say, you got 3000 shares out of 1,000,000 of a 41Million dollar company (.3% of the company 123000 of initial value... now worthless) so we'll transfer you 410 shares of apple which was 123000 last year (now worth 250K which is quite a few multiples over worthless) with the same vesting period.  btw, 250Kx(team of 20 holding 6% sweat equity) = 5Million.  


     


    *What about any non-competes?  You look at the Color BoD (VCs)  and say, "Gentlemen, you just lost burned through 41Million dollars, and can't even make payroll.  No product, nothing close.   We just solved your payroll problem.. Do you think your Lawyers will want to compete with our Lawyers, knowing you're broke and if you lose it's out of their pockets?  We suggest start selling the furniture"


     


    I've seen both (non compete buy out or just poach the team).  Non compete Clauses are rarely enforceable, but are bought out when the principals want to maintain a 'working relationship',  but big companies often just flex their legal biceps a the company, and they usually back down.  

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