Apple Acquired ‘Select Technology’ and Talent from Cloud-Based Media Platform Provider Omnifone in August

Apple has acquired talent and technology from defunct streaming music startup Omnifone, reports TechCrunch. It’s not a full buyout, so you’re not going to see the usual “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time” statement, but the outlet says it’s hired at least 16 of their employees and purchased select technology.
Rumors about Apple first acquiring Omnifone originated in July of this year soon after the company declared its bankruptcy. The report from bankruptcy administrators then revealed that it had found a buyer for some technological assets of Omnifone for $10 million. While these rumors were squashed pretty soon, it looks like the original rumor was not totally baseless.

The news emerged as Omnifone’s original founder, Rob Lewis (who was no longer with Omnifone in its final years), prepares for his latest streaming music venture, Electric Jukebox, to launch its first product this week: a music player that plugs into your TV, and a controller that looks a little like a microphone.
[…] But it’s not clear what technology Apple might have picked up and which patents it might include, if any. Omnifone has over 50 patents registered to it, covering areas like digital media identification, streaming and downloading. A source claims that some of the tech has also found its way into Apple Music and iTunes, although Apple declined to comment on any specifics when we asked.

Apple will likely use the technology it has acquired from Omnifone to improve Apple Music, though it remains unclear what exactly the company plans on doing with it. Omnifone was among the first companies to offer music streaming services for mobile devices. The company also had deals secured in place with companies like Samsung, BlackBerry, and Sony to offer its music streaming service to customers of their devices. However, the company launched well ahead of its time as the streaming and smartphone market were not mature enough back then. The company’s original founder, Rob Lewis, had moved on from Omnifone in the company’s final years.


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