According to AllThingsD, Apple has confirmed an acquisition of Matcha, an online media discovery app for iOS. The app disappeared from Apple’s App Store in May of this year without any explanation from the company. Now, it appears it was removed due to the acquisition.
First reports estimated the company was acquired for $1 – $1.5 million. However, recent reports suggest the amount was more likely between $10 to $15 million.
The Matcha app provided a way for iOS users to browse streaming movies and TV shows across several major sources including Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime and others. The app launched in January of 2012 and received an average of 4.5 star reviews during the time it was available in iTunes.
Sources familiar with the purchase indicate that Apple’s purchase of Matcha was about getting the company’s recommendation engine, which is based on a proprietary algorithm.
In fact, Matacha was said to have been purchased right after it “found the answer” with algorithm refinements. User acquisition and engagement was allegedly the specific appeal to Apple, which found that Matcha did a better job than competing apps.
The Matcha acquisition is very similar to the Chomp acquisition Apple made last year. Chomp was an app for discovering other apps. The app was also removed from the App Store after the purchase and improvements with app discovery came along with iOS 6.
Apple typically buys small companies to use the technology in future Apple products and in some cases to bring the talented people to Apple.
The Matcha purchase could be used in Apple’s efforts to improve Apple TV. Apple does appear to be ramping up efforts to improve Apple TV and the company is rumored to launch a new Apple TV or iTV later this year.