Feeds

Rockmelt! Melts! For! Yahoo's! Millions!

Social startup slurped by Purple Palace

High performance access to file storage

In the latest of a string of acquisitions since ex-Googler Marissa Mayer came aboard as CEO, Yahoo! has acquired ssocial-media munger Rockmelt for an undisclosed sum (though AllThingsD's Kara Swisher pegs the price at somewhere between $60m and $70m).

You may remember Rockmelt as the Marc Andreessen–backed startup that built a web browser organized around social media. More recently it morphed into a social content aggregator that delivers personalized feeds via a website and a set of apps for mobile platforms.

"The parallels between Yahoo! and Rockmelt are obvious: we share a common goal to help people discover the best personalized content from around the web," Yahoo!'s Mike Kerns and Adam Cahan said in a statement on Friday.

Just what the Purple Palace plans to do with Rockmelt's technology was not disclosed. Kerns is Yahoo!'s VP of product, while Cahan is its senior VP of mobile and emerging products – so not many clues there.

One thing Yahoo! won't be doing, however, is continuing Rockmelt's operations in their current form. The process of dismantling the company's products has already begun, and Rockmelt said in a blog post on Friday that all of its current apps and websites will be shut down on August 31. The old Rockmelt browser, having long been slated for the scrapyard, stopped working on Wednesday.

More attractive to Yahoo! than Rockmelt's software, most likely, is its portfolio of intellectual property. Fans of the old Rockmelt browser may remember that its windows featured columns of social networking icons along its left- and right-hand sides. Apparently that UI design was so novel that Rockmelt patented it. Twice.

In fact, a search of the US Patent and Trademark Office database reveals that Rockmelt holds at least six patents, some of which sound like just the sort of thing that might interest a company like Yahoo!. Take Patent No. 8,386,915, "Integrated link statistics within an application," for example. Or Patent Nos. 8,356,051 and 8,209,349, both of which involve "Integrated saved search results."

Rockmelt's patents were filed in the days when it was trying to ship its own desktop web browser, but there's likely to still be some meat there that could benefit Yahoo!'s future plans. Also, Mayer has positioned Yahoo! as a "mobile first" company of late, and Rockmelt's recent focus on apps for Android and iOS dovetails nicely with that strategy.

"We can't wait to integrate the Rockmelt technology into our platform as we work to deliver the best experiences to our users in new and exciting ways," Yahoo!'s Kerns and Cahan said.

Meanwhile, the Rockmelt team went as far as to post a group photo of themselves dressed in Yahoo!'s trademark purple, saying, "We plan to put everything we've learned to work at Yahoo!."

The company has also reminded current Rockmelt users to take advantage of its export service, available via a tile in each of its products, to save their kept items and feeds before the August 31 cutoff date. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.