Texture, offered via the app stores of Apple, Google and Amazon.com, bolsters Apple's efforts in online services and media. The Cupertino, California, company aims to top $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3.24 lakh crores) in annual services revenue by 2021, and a magazine subscription service would likely contribute to that.
The deal may help Apple boost relations with news outlets that have become wary of Facebook and Google. Some publishers reported losing online traffic from Facebook after the social media network recently refocused on content from friends and family.
Texture's magazine catalogue includes Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Bloomberg Businessweek. The app is currently run by Next Issue Media, owned by a group of publishers and other companies including Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp., News Corp., Rogers Communications. In 2014, private-equity firm KKR invested $50 million in the company.
Apple made its first big push to integrate magazines and newspapers into its devices with an application called Newsstand in 2011. It replaced that with the more comprehensive Apple News service a couple of years ago.
Apple typically doesn't formally announce acquisitions of smaller companies, but its services executive Eddy Cue, who oversees its media efforts, is speaking at the South by Southwest conference this week in Austin, Texas.
"We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalogue of magazines from many of the world's leading publishers," Cue said in a statement. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users."
At the conference, Cue said Texture is "beloved" by iPad customers and said users of the existing Apple News service follow more than 20 publications, up from four a couple of years ago. "We've become a pretty decent player in a short amount of time," he added.
The company didn't say how much it paid for Texture, but the move marks Apple's second reported acquisition of the calendar year. In January, it bought BuddyBuild, a Canada-based app development service.
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