Apple shells out reported $30M on Swell radio app - Mobile World Live

Apple shells out reported $30M on Swell radio app

28 JUL 2014

Apple confirmed it is to buy podcast streaming app Swell, with reports previously pricing the acquisition at $30 million.

The iOS title compiles podcasts and voice radio shows which it then stitches together to create personalised streams. The company is testing an Android version.

The news was confirmed to The Wall Street Journal, with Swell having been shut down as part of the deal. Much of its team is believed to be joining Apple.

Apple has its own in-house podcast app, although it hasn’t attracted particularly good reviews in the App Store, which the addition of Swell could help.

Despite having an interface that lends itself to in-car listening, leading to strong engagement, Swell hasn’t yet managed to attract a significant number of users, according to Re/code.

The technology creates personalised streams based on what is listened to or skipped, with alerts when it has learned a new preference. Users can also share content with friends via social networks.

Members of the Swell team, including CEO Ram Ramkumar, previously founded image recognition start-up SnapTell which they sold to Amazon.

Swell has raised $7.2 million from investors that include Google Ventures, DFJ Venture and InterWest Partners

The potential deal follows another couple of media service acquisitions by the iPhone maker. It agreed to acquire headphone maker and music streaming provider Beats for $3 billion in June, and recently acquired book recommendation service BookLamp — for between $10 million and $15 million, according to TechCrunch.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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