Apple is aiming to improve the search and discovery features in its App Store, with the purchase of Australian start-up Chomp a search engine for apps, TechCrunch reported. Chomp develops tools that help users find new and relevant applications on iOS and Android devices.
The deal will help Apple improve its own search systems as its store now boasts over 500,000 apps – further evidence that app store optimization is needed.
Chomp chief executive Ben Keighran and chief technology officer Cathy Edwards have already moved to Apple, sourced told 9to5Mac. The site reported that Keighran is working with the iTunes marketing team and Edwards is a senior iTunes engineer.
Bloomberg later reported the deal was worth $50 million, although this is unconfirmed.
Apple didn't confirm the deal outright, but in a statement acknowledged it does make acquisitions from time to time: "We buy smaller technology companies from time to time and generally don't comment on our purposes or plans."
The deal comes at the same time that Apple held its annual shareholder meeting in California, during which chief executive Tim Cook spoke on a number of issues around the company's future, including what the company may do with its huge cash reserves of $100 billion.
"On cash, we've been thinking about cash very deeply, the board has been looking into what is in shareholders' best interest," he said, according to a cbnc.com live blog of the event. "We will do what we think is in the best interest of shareholders."