Feb 262012


Apple Inc. said it has acquired app-search engine Chomp, gaining a small team of app specialists and technology designed to ease the pain of finding apps.

The price Apple paid couldn’t be learned but it likely amounts to small change for the tech behemoth, which is wrestling with how to spend its $100 billion in cash.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment beyond saying that the company occasionally acquires technology companies and “generally doesn’t discuss its purpose or plans.”

Chomp, founded in 2009, has raised around $2.5 million in funding from BlueRun Ventures, SV Angel and others. It is based in San Francisco. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move suggests Apple believes it has work to do to help consumers find and buy apps, as its app store has ballooned to more than 550,000 titles. Its existing app-store search function is fairly basic, and developers often gripe that it is difficult to get discovered without being featured by Apple.

Whether Chomp will continue to operate its search service for apps built for Google Inc.’s Android operating system remains unclear.

The deal comes as investors are watching for whether Apple plans to step up its acquisitions. The company announced it had acquired flash memory company Anobit in January. Historically, it has done fewer sizable acquisitions than its peers.

Write to Jessica E. Vascellaro at jessica.vascellaro@wsj.com

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>