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Apple Reportedly Scoops Up FoundationDB To Develop Solid Data Infrastructure

Lindsey O'Donnell

In its latest move in a string of smaller acquisitions, Apple reportedly has scooped up Tysons Corner, Va.-based open-source database software company FoundationDB, according to TechCrunch.

Partners said the reported purchase will strengthen Apple's services around its cloud-computing platform, iCloud, as well as help juggle and monetize the data streaming through its various mobile devices.

Apple did not respond to an inquiry for confirmation before deadline. A post on FoundationDB's website stated that it was "evolving [the] company mission" and will no longer offer product downloads.

[Related: Apple Acquires Music Tracking Player Semetric]

FoundationDB, highlighted on CRN's Emerging Big Data Vendors 2014 list, develops scalable, high-performance NoSQL databases and ACID-compliant architecture. The company offers this noSQL database as a cloud service, and competes with mainstream database providers, such as Oracle and Microsoft.

"It's an interesting acquisition," said Jack Narcotta, industry analyst for Technology Business Research. "FoundationDB can bring some very important technology to Apple. Apple has all these iPhones, the set-top boxes for Apple TVs, iPads and more technology consuming vast amounts of data. The question becomes, 'How do they corral it, manage it, and eventually monetize it?' They're definitely looking at this acquisition as a supplement to some longer-term strategies."

For Apple, the acquisition means strengthened technologies behind managing the massive quantities of data surrounding its key cloud services, particularly in data-related areas of its devices, such as Apple Pay, iTunes and iTunes Connect.


Analysts speculate that the acquisition also could help Apple's rumored online television service, a 25-channel network bundle that is reportedly coming out in the fall, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

"FoundationDB isn't on the same level as Beats, but it shows that Apple has some longer-term plans for its technology," said Narcotta. "From what I gather, FoundationDB is agnostic, and not tied into any particular vertical. When you have hundreds of millions of iPhones and other devices, you need technology that can process that data very quickly."

While there was no indication of the purchase price for the rumored acquisition, FoundationDB raised $22.7 million in two rounds from SV Angel, Sutter Hill and CrunchFund, according to TechCrunch.

Partners praised the acquisition as Apple's long-term plans for developing hard-hitting data infrastructure and focusing on its cloud-computing services.

"If the speculation that Apple will use this new feature within their infrastructure is true, then it could bring some great improvements," said Jeff Dettloff, president and CEO of Providence Consulting, a Lansing, Mich.-based Apple partner. "It could help Apple scale a million transactions or other data-related uses, which is something we may see the consequences of in the future."

FoundationDB is the most recent in Apple's string of acquisitions of smaller companies, compared to its massive $3 billion acquisition of Beat Electronics LLC in 2014. In January, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company purchased analytics company Semetric, which partners said would boost Apple's music services and customer engagement. Apple also reportedly acquired London-based big data analytics firm Acunu in 2013, according to Bloomberg.

PUBLISHED MARCH 26, 2015

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