Apple confirms purchase of personalized talk radio service Swell, shuts down app

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
Apple has indeed purchased Swell, a personalized news radio application, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after promptly shutting removing the free download from the iOS App Store.




Word first surfaced earlier this week that Apple was close to finalizing a deal with Swell said to be worth about $30 million. The purchase was confirmed to Wall Street Journal reporter Daisuke Wakabayashi on Tuesday.

Apple didn't comment on the rumored purchase price, however, sticking simply to its boilerplate statement that it buys small companies "from time to time" and generally doesn't comment on the purpose.

Swell was a free download on the iOS App Store and was well reviewed, with 436 users giving it an average score of 4 and a half stars out of 5. That's much better than Apple's own Podcasts app, which has been subjected to extremely negative user reviews.

It was said that the simplified user interface offered by Swell was key to Apple's acquisition of the product. The service focuses on news and talk radio, offering podcasts from major outlets like National Public Radio and ABC News, but it goes beyond by analyzing a user's listening habits and creating a personalized podcast stream.

Swell was also designed with the car in mind, offering a spartan interface that allowed users to simply hit play and begin hearing content that might be of interest.

The purchase comes soon after it was revealed that Apple bought BookLamp, a sort of "Pandora for books," back in April. Unlikely many of its acquisitions, Apple managed to keep that purchase under wraps until last week.

The company did publicly disclose during its quarterly earnings call last week that it completed 29 acquisitions over the last nine months. With the deal for Swell apparently completing this week, it does not appear that it is one of those 29 purchases.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I wonder if there's ever be another google when these big 5 (Apple-Google-Microsoft-Facebook-Amazon) keep shopping small startups like candies.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Why would we ever want another Screwyou ------- one is quite enough thank you
  • Reply 3 of 13

    whatever you call it, its still a huge success story that changed so much in today's internet, and which shall never repeat if these big companies  with their unlimited cash keep up with their shopping spree.

  • Reply 4 of 13
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    @reason88 think different. They won't see the little smart startup with its radically different take on things. Apple 1983, for example, in a world where Big Blue was the tech giant.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Reason88 View Post

    whatever you call it, its still a huge success story that changed so much in today's internet, and which shall never repeat if these big companies  with their unlimited cash keep up with their shopping spree.

     

    Yeah, that’s not how things work.

  • Reply 6 of 13
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Reason88 View Post

     

    whatever you call it, its still a huge success story that changed so much in today's internet, and which shall never repeat if these big companies  with their unlimited cash keep up with their shopping spree.




    You do know that these startups have the option to not accept buyouts right?

     

    Corporation Y offering 100 Million for Startup Z doesn't mean that Startup Z is instantly theirs. The startup, or at least the owner has to accept the offer. Many startups are created for that very reason regardless, to shape the product or service and sell it off to the highest bidder.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member

    Never heard of it, but they must've had something worth buying.

  • Reply 8 of 13
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Never heard of it, but they must've had something worth buying.

    It has to be more than a implied interface, right?
  • Reply 9 of 13
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,228member
    In short, Yes.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    georgeip5georgeip5 Posts: 225member
    Definitely an up coming feature.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jexus View Post

     



    You do know that these startups have the option to not accept buyouts right?

     

    Corporation Y offering 100 Million for Startup Z doesn't mean that Startup Z is instantly theirs. The startup, or at least the owner has to accept the offer. Many startups are created for that very reason regardless, to shape the product or service and sell it off to the highest bidder.


     

    The problem is that most of these small companies who gain just enough success to be on the radar of large companies aren't owned by the founder.  They're usually owned by the investors who gave the founder money to get his dreams off the ground.  Investors only want to see a return on their investment, so they sell when the offer is good enough.

  • Reply 12 of 13
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    The app is designed to pick the podcasts and newscasts that it decides you want to hear. I'd rather do that myself, getting a bit of real variety. To create an Orwellian term, I'd rather not engage in Likethink, seeing the world through one tinted set of lens.

    I say that for good reason. Four of the five shows on the illustrative iPhone page before the app was yanked were from either NPR or PBS. Are other sources that frightening or unsettling? Swell seems to assume they are.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jexus View Post

     



    You do know that these startups have the option to not accept buyouts right?

     

    Corporation Y offering 100 Million for Startup Z doesn't mean that Startup Z is instantly theirs. The startup, or at least the owner has to accept the offer. Many startups are created for that very reason regardless, to shape the product or service and sell it off to the highest bidder.


     

    Sadly, Startup Z saying no is often met with Corporation Y (or X) saying - great, that means they'll stay small enough for our purse to outlast theirs in court and so we'll just appropriate their IP anyway.  w00t!

     

    It's MSFT's historical MO to a T.  Not nearly so much Apple's, but startups w/o enough cache to sue big corps and win often decide to sell out than lose it all anyway (or risk doing so).

Sign In or Register to comment.