Apple scoops up talent, tech from bankrupt music pioneer Omnifone

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Omnifone's tech is already inside Apple Music.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

To beef up its streaming music service, Apple has hired some key employees from Omnifone, a company that was a pioneer of in music streaming industry.

Rumors floated this summer that Apple was looking to acquire Omnifone after the company filed for bankruptcy. Instead of buying the whole thing though, a new report claims that Apple instead bought some of parts of Omnifone’s tech and workforce.


“About 16 of Omnifone’s London-based employees on LinkedIn all changed their employer to Apple, and a source tells us that in fact there was some technology picked up alongside the talent grab,” reports TechCrunch.

Amping up Apple Music

Apple Music launched in 2015 and then underwent an redesign this summer as part of iOS 10. The music streaming service has already amassed 17 million paid subscribers, but Apple is still trying to catch up to Spotify’s 40 million subscribers.

The former Omnifone employees that have joined Apple includes engineers that are supposedly now working on iTunes, apps and other projects. The company was one of the first to come up with the concept of unlimited music streaming in 2003.

Omnifone has more than 50 patents registered. It’s unclear though which of those, if any, Apple purchased. The company has tech for digital media identification that could be of interest to Apple.

Some of the tech from Omnifone is already included in iTunes and Apple Music, according to the report. Apple declined our request for comment on the hirings.