April 14, 2015

Apple quietly bought search engine developer Ottocat two years ago

For a company as big as Apple, a single app has many channels of development. This week, it was revealed that Apple acquired Ottocat, a search engine company that has helped to develop the "explore" tab in Apple's app store application. In an unusual twist, it turns out that Apple purchased Ottocat years ago, as early as May 2013. 

"There is precious little evidence of the connection between Ottocat and Apple — no LinkedIn employment changes, no announcements to Ottocat users — save for one thing," explains Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch. "One of Ottocat's co-founders, Edwin Cooper, authored a patent that was granted to Apple as the original assignee."

The acquisition has flown under the radar for a couple of years now, proving that some M&A deals aren't engineered for the sake of hype and headlines. Instead, Ottocat has been working quietly to build out capabilities for the app store feature. While unusual, a company like Apple perhaps has little to gain by publicizing another acquisition. Instead, allowing the integration to take hold and letting the results of the partnership speak for themselves appears to be the strategy.

Since spinning that off from the iTunes Store with the advent of mobile devices, the company has invested significant attention in matching users with the most appropriate apps in the marketplace. Though the acquisition was completed with no pomp or circumstance, users have unknowingly benefited from the relationship through several revisions of the application. 

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