This June has been a busy month for Apple. While Apple’s acquisitions have historically been low-key affairs, this month has seen the tech giant make three significant announcements: Apple’s partnership with IBM and its acquisition of two streaming media startups, BookLamp and Swell.

Last Friday, it was reported that Apple acquired BookLamp, a startup based in Idaho that specialises in book analytics, for a fee of somewhere between $10 million and $15 million. BookLamp’s most well known product, Book Genome Project, uses natural language text analysis to suggest other relevant book titles, accounting for favoured genres, the length of the book, and other factors. As TechCrunch describe the technology,

“It could, for instance, recommend “The Templar Legacy” by Steve Berry for fans of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” because they both feature ‘catholic institutions’, ‘history/academics’, ‘strategic planning’, and ‘libraries’.”

The announcement of Apple’s acquisition is significant. Currently, Apple’s iBook application does not focus on personalization, which its main competitor, Amazon, is famous for doing. The move is a sure sign of Apple’s intent to capture Amazon’s market share.

Only two days after, news broke that Apple had purchased talk-radio app Swell to bolster its iTunes radio music streaming service and Podcast app. The app lets users listen to unlimited personalized audio news and podcasts like NPR, BBC, CBC, TED and more. Through understanding its customer’s preferences and listening history, personalized playlist are created for users. The acquisition is believed to have cost the tech giant $30 million.

Interestingly, some commentators have suggested that the tech giants recent purchases – including Beats headphone’s – are a sign of the company’s lack of in-house innovation. According to Jon Swartz, USA Today‘s San Francisco bureau chief,

“[Apple] decided it’s not going to invent everything. It’s going to acquire companies that are good and useful to it…They realize they can’t do it all themselves, and they have to reach out to others and just bring them in house.”

What’s your opinion on Apple’s recent acquisitions?

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(Image Credit: Nathan Borror)


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