Apple Acquires Web App Startup Particle, Retains Several Developers To Work At Cupertino

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It looks like Apple acquired Justin Timberlake-backed web apps company Particle last month — maker of social video service robo.to, and a design UI/UX and HTML5 web app consultancy whose clients include Google, Motorola, Sony and Zynga. CNET called the acquisition today, citing “sources with knowledge of the deal”. There’s no word on the acquisition price.

Signs that Particle has indeed become part of Apple are evident on the LinkedIn profiles of several Particle staff members. A tweet sent by Particle front end developer Lynn Collette today, appears to confirm the news — while her public LinkedIn profile directly lists her as a “UI engineer at Apple”.

Other Particle staffers, such as Cole Rise, are also now listed as Apple employees — previously listed as working on interactive product development for Particle, he’s now listed as a “creative technologist” at Apple; while Jason Proctor previously VP of engineering at Particle is listed as “engineer at Apple”. Designer Ericson deJesus, a Particle founder, is also now listed as an Apple employee. Frederick Finn, another Particle front end developer is listed as “user interface engineer” at Apple.

All these job changes are listed as taking place in September.

We’ve reached out to Apple but the company rarely confirms acquisitions so we’re not expecting a response.

Particle’s about page describes the company as follows — flagging up “great Apple relationships” and experience on several key Apple products

Particle is a growing professional services business in creative concept work, visual and user experience design, and technical implementation. Its founders have a significant history with digital creative consultancy both directly with clients like Apple, Disney, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Google, Yahoo! and through work in agencies like The Barbican Group and Frog Design.

Particle brings positive and energetic relationships with Google and the Chrome team specifically, as well as great Apple relationships and execution experience around iAds, iTunes Extras, and Apple.com. We have participated in and piloted much of the technology which will display the next generation of advertising and deliver media content for the next decade.

And here’s what it has to say about its focus on HTML5 — a technology Apple has very publicly championed (in its battle against Flash)

Particle specializes in a subset of web development that it sees as being at the core of the next generation of applications both on the web and embedded in various contexts. HTML5 and the WebKit rendering engine already drive the web experience on devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Android, but are increasingly becoming the lowest common denomination on the desktop web in next generation browsers like Google’s Chrome, and Apple’s Safari. Particle has chosen to focus on this technology so intensely because we believe it will soon be the rendering engine that powers a new universe of light weight and embedded applications from set top boxes to game consoles to Chrome OS and Android devices to portable telephony and media devices of all kinds.

Apple’s other acquisitions this year include mobile security company AuthenTec and app store search and discovery company Chomp. Last year it picked up chip and flash memory company Anobit and mapping tech company C3 Technologies.