Saturday, July 21, 2012

Facebook Buys Acrylic

Vancouver-based Acrylic Software — maker of iOS and Mac apps — can now count itself among the few companies Facebook has decided to give the thumbs up of acquisition to. The Canadian software company is known for their iOS RSS reader app, Pulp.
Some believe this iOS expertise is what sparked Facebook’s interest in the company, rather than the app itself. As such, the social networking giant only bought the company, rather than buying rights to the apps. In the coming weeks, the Acrylic team will transition to San Francisco to become full-time Facebookers, leaving their iOS and Mac apps stagnant in their current form.
“Facebook is an invaluable service that we all use daily, and a company I believe is one of the most innovative and important around today,” writes Dustin MacDonald in the Acrylic blog.
“After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit. Simply put, there’s an opportunity at Facebook to have a big impact in many people’s lives. More importantly, Facebook is full of extremely talented people who will be able to help realize its full potential in the years to come.”
Though Pulp and Wallet (their password storage app) will remain available on their respective App Stores, the Acrylic team doesn’t have any plans to update these apps in the near future. MacDonald did not disclose any financial terms in his blog post.
Facebook has been making some strides in the past few months towards a more complete mobile experience. They famously dropped $1 billion to acquire the popular, all mobile photo sharing app Instagram.
Last month, the New York Times ran a story suggesting the Facebook iOS app could be getting a much needed speed boost.
As it stands, the Facebook app acts much like a web browser housed inside a thin, iOS wrapper. Their new updates to the app would put more of the heavy lifting in the hands of the iPhone’s hardware, rather than depending on the antennas and networks to pull down all the data from Facebook’s servers.
This past May, persistent rumors about a Facebook phone began to surface once more. According to an earlier New York Times piece, several Apple and Google employees had been contacted by Facebook recruiters, saying the social networking company has planned to build their own smartphone. Facebook has already hired several engineers who have history working with the iPad and iPhone.
One former Apple engineer in particular said he had a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg wherein the Facebook creator drilled him with questions about the inner workings of the iPhone. When asked about their plans to enter the smartphone wars against the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung, Facebook only repeated a statement from last year, saying, “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”

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