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Google, Facebook acquire Apple-focused companies

TMCNet:  Google, Facebook acquire Apple-focused companies

[July 20, 2012]

Google, Facebook acquire Apple-focused companies

Jul 20, 2012 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The race for engineering talent in Silicon Valley continued Friday, as two of the area's most well-known companies agreed to acquire foreign companies that focus on Apple's (AAPL) ecosystem.

Google (GOOG) purchased Paris-based Sparrow, which makes an email client for Mac desktops and the iPhone, while Facebook acquired Acrylic, a Vancouver app-design studio that created the Pulp news reader and Wallet personal-information storage apps for Mac and iOS devices. Acquisition prices were not disclosed, though tech blog The Verge reported that Google paid less than $25 million for Sparrow.

Google verified the acquisition Friday, saying that the Sparrow team will join the Mountain View search giant's webmail team.

"The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client. We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they'll be working on new projects," a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Sparrow's popular email client will continue to be available and be updated, though new features are doubtful, the Sparrow team said in a blog post.

"We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience. Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision -- one that we think we can better achieve with Google," a blog post on the company's site read Friday.

Sparrow lists five employees on its website, including the two cofounders, Dominique Leca and Hoa Dinh Viet.

Acrylic announced its acquisition by Facebook on its blog, as well, with founder Dustin MacDonald saying that his small studio would be moving to the Bay Area to join the Menlo Park social network's design team.

For the past four years, we've worked tirelessly on creating truly awesome products with a focus on innovation and great design, and I'm incredibly proud of the work we've been able to accomplish during that time. ... Building these products has been a fun and exciting ride, but the time has come to move on to newer and bigger challenges," MacDonald wrote.

Acrylic's apps will continue to be available for download and purchase, MacDonald wrote, but were not acquired in the deal and will not be developed further. The company's website lists only two employees, MacDonald and engineer Mark Davis.

Facebook did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Google stock experienced a sharp increase Friday, though that is more likely attributable to the company's strong quarterly earnings report released after Thursday's trading session. At 11:30 a.m. Pacific time, Google shares were trading for $611.19, a 3.1 percent increase from Thursday's close. Facebook stock was holding steady at the same time despite an overall downward trend on Wall Street, trading for a penny higher than Thursday's close at $29.01.

Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.

___ (c)2012 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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