Apple buys app development service Buddybuild

Apple continues to ramp up its efforts to court developers by making it easier to create and iterate their apps for its platforms. The iPhone giant has now acquired Buddybuild, a Vancouver-based app tools startup that describes itself as “mobile iteration platform” focused on continuous integration and debugging tools — essentially giving an app development team a simple workflow for iterating and pushing their apps out into the world through GitHub, BitBucket or GitLab.

Apple confirmed the acquisition directly to us, and the startup also noted the move in a blog post this afternoon.

No financial terms have been disclosed for the deal. Apple tells TechCrunch that the team (currently employing around 40 or so engineers) will stay put in BC, a fact that the startup celebrated by noting that it’s “always been proud to be a Canadian company.” 

As part of the acquisition, Buddybuild will be rolled into Xcode, Apple’s suite of development tools for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, although Apple and Buddybuild have not given a specific timeline of when that will happen. 

Buddybuild’s service will continue to be available to existing customers as a standalone product through the company’s site — though new customers will no longer be accepted through that portal, beginning today.

But the deal also means the effective end of the Android app development that the company added last February. That aspect of the service will be sunset in March. Apple similarly discontinued Android compatibility when it acquired TestFlight, effectively removing a key development tool from Google’s ecosystem. 

The system should fit nicely into Apple’s existing set of tools, bringing additional methods for testing, debugging and deploying mobile apps through a proprietary channel.

More to the point, it should make developing and iterating apps for iOS that much easier than before.

Apps are a key battleground for smartphone makers: they lure users to buy their devices, and when the pace of smartphone acquisition slows down as markets mature, apps increasingly become a revenue stream in their own right.

Apple, whose iPhones have long been outstripped by devices powered by Google’s Android in terms of market share, still generates considerably more revenue from apps than the latter. Of the $17 billion generated in Q3 from apps globally (excluding China), Apple accounted for around $11 billion of it, according to App Annie.

But with Google outstripping Apple in downloads, you can see some of the math that might lead Apple to making sure its platform and app tools remain developer-friendly and replete with new features and tools to make it easier to use.

The move echoes Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight back in 2014, which began to require users to employ Xcode to utilize the service.  

Buddybuild was founded in 2015 by former Amazon employees Dennis Pilarinos and Christopher Stott. In its nearly three years of existence, the startup has managed to raise around $8.8 million, including a $7.6 million Series A led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield back in May of 2016.

Stewart Butterfield has served as an advisor for the company, and Slack has become one of its more prominent clients. The remaining roster of existing customers is an impressive one, including Mozilla, Hootsuite, Reddit, SoundCloud, FourSquare and The New York Times.

Buddybuild added in its blog post that Vancouver has become something of a hotbed for software development, and adding Apple’s extra cache should make local recruitment even easier if the company does decide to grow.


Twitter Buys Artificial Intelligence Firm Magic Pony

Twitter Buys Artificial Intelligence Firm Magic Pony


  • Magic Pony’s team will be joining Twitter Cortex.
  • Magic Pony includes scientists with expertise in machine learning.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Twitter said Monday it was acquiring British-based artificial intelligence startup Magic Pony to bolster its capacity for analysis of visual content.

Magic Pony’s technology, based on research to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery “will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities forTwitter,” said Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey in a blog post.

“Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter. It’s powering much of the work we’re doing to make it easier to create, share, and discover the very best content so that every time you open Twitter you’re immersed in the most relevant news, stories, and events for you.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes with Twitter struggling to grow its user base and achieve profitability amid disappointment in the platform after a long-awaited 2013 initial public offering.

Rob Bishop, Magic Pony’s CEO and co-founder, said joining forces with Twitter “gives us the opportunity to bring the benefits of that research to hundreds of millions of people around the world, and allows Magic Pony to contribute to better quality viewing experiences on Twitter.”

Magic Pony team includes scientists with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing, and computational neuroscience.

Bishop will be based out of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, and co-founder Zehan Wang and the other members will join Twitter’s London office, according to a statement.

Magic Pony’s team will be joining Twitter Cortex, a team of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers. Twitter’s other machine learning acquisitions include Madbits in July 2014 and Whetlab in June 2015.

Tags: AI, Artificial Intelligence, Magic Pony, Social, Twitter

Apple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup Turi

Apple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup TuriApple Buys AI and Machine Learning Startup Turi
Apple has reportedly acquired Turin for $200 million
Earlier, Turin was known as Dato and GraphLab
Apple had acquired AI firms Perceptio and VocalIQ last year
Apple Inc. seems to be taking strides towards the field of artificial intelligence just like other tech giants from the industry as the Cupertino-based company has reportedly acquired AI firm Turi, which is a machine learning platform for developers and data scientists.

The iPhone manufacturer has bought the Seattle-based startup for a consideration of around $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,335 crores), according to a report by GeekWire. On being contacted about the deal by the website, Apple gave its regular boilerplate statement when making a small acquisition, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

GeekWire says that it has confirmed from several sources close to the matter that the deal has indeed taken place. Turi’s product offering includes Turi Machine Learning Platform, GraphLab Create, Turi Distributed, and Turi Predictive Services.

All of these products are largely designed to improve data understanding and can be deployed by both large and small scale organisations.
Turin was earlier known as Dato and before that, it was called GraphLab.

Last year in October, the Cupertino-based company acquired artificial intelligence companies Perceptio and VocalIQ. While Perceptio allows phones to do advanced calculations without storing user data in the cloud, VocalIQ is a UK-based startup that builds speech processing technology.

The company’s push in the direction of artificial intelligence indicates that Apple might be planning to enhance the capabilities of its virtual assistant Siri, catch up with competitors in the field of chat bots, or it might also have some other plans regarding the technology altogether. In any of these cases, the company seems to have definitely become more active post the decline in its iPhone sales.

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Tags: AI, Apple, Artificial Intelligence, Siri, Turi


Quikr Buys Hiree to Boost Its QuikrJobs Offering

Quikr Buys Hiree to Boost Its QuikrJobs Offering

Online classifieds company Quikr Monday said it has acquired online hiring platform focused on white collar jobs Hiree for an undisclosed amount.

Hiree will be merged with QuikrJobs and will operate out of Quikr headquarters, the company said in a statement.

“We launched QuikrJobs with an aim to bridge the gap between Bharat and India for the recruitment industry. We have created a successful business model there and it’s now time to level-up. Speed is in our DNA and Hiree’s offerings aimed at shortening recruitment cycle times is a great match with that,” Quikr Founder and CEO Pranay Chulet said.

The combined entity will create a recruitment platform that connects over four million active candidates with recruiters across the country, the company said.

The enhanced product portfolio coupled with Quikr’s missed call service will make a larger talent pool available to recruiters for entry-level, blue collar as well as white collar lateral hires, it said.

“Joining forces with Quikr allows us to double-up our focus on innovating in recruitment space for both job seekers and our customers. Our customers will now gain the benefits of Hiree’s technology and massive scale of Quikr in parallel,” Hiree Founders Manjunath Talwar and Abhijit Khasnis said.

Tags: Hiree, Internet, Quikr, QuikrJobs