Apple Has Reportedly Purchased Video Sharing Startup Color Labs [Updated]

Apple Has Reportedly Purchased Video Sharing Startup Color Labs [Updated]

Once a photo sharing service, now a video broadcasting cool… How will Apple use the brains behind Color?

You know how some ideas sound really good conceptually but end up not panning out in reality? Color was such an idea. The iPhone app received a ton of hype originally with its $41 million in venture capital funding. The premise was to create a location-based, crowd-sourced photo stream from people’s smartphone cameras that was shared publicly for everyone to see. After that idea failed, Color tried to reinvent itself into a photo sharing service by partnering with Facebook. Now the app is positioned as an internet broadcasting tool.

With recent rumors that Color Labs was considering closing its doors, a surprising report today claims that Apple is in the process of acquiring the startup.

According to The Next Web:

Color Labs, the photo-and-video-sharing social network that received much criticism over its pre-launch $41 million funding round, is about to be acquired by Apple. We’ve heard through trusted sources that the startup was nabbed for a price that is in the ‘high double digits’, as in millions, and that the deal is ‘done’, though papers have yet to be signed.

Color founder Bill Nguyen has showed “prototype apps” to Apple VP Eddy Cue in the past, according to the report. Interestingly, Nguyen also founded Lala, a web music startup that was bought by Apple years ago and assumedly used to beef up iTunes. Nguyen’s history with Apple gives credence to The Next Web’s report, although it’s still perplexing as to why Apple would buy a startup that was failed to gain traction and is currently experiencing internal drama.

As with most Apple acquisitions, the purchase of Color Labs is likely an “acqui-hire.” The talent behind Color could probably bring needed expertise to Apple’s iCloud offerings, especially Photo Stream. In iOS 6, some social elements were added with Shared Photo Streams, but there’s still plenty of room for growth.

Coincidentally, it was reported yesterday that Apple acquired Particle, a small HTML5 development company. That’s quite a bit of acquiring at one time for a company that has traditionally liked to keep to itself.

Update: AllThingsD is now reporting that Apple did indeed buy Color for its talent and not actual intellectual property.

  • mladjo

    One word – Patents.

  • gaijin

    I was thinking people were confusing Silicon Color with Color Labs, but I see they acquired Silicon Color in 2006, so the article I saw was old.

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

    I’m hoping it might be for including video in Photostreams

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , |