After Apple Acquisition, Burstly’s SkyRocket Users Get 90-Day Notice

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When we reported that Apple had acquired Burstly last month, a lot of the attention was focused on TestFlight, its popular mobile app testing platform — and specifically around how it would discontinue support for Android and the wider TestFlight SDK to new users. But it looks like this won’t be the only part of the Burstly business that will be winding down.

A customer who was using the company’s SkyRocket product — the other side of its business that focuses on app monetization — has forwarded us a letter from Burstly. Dated March 11 and signed by Ryan Rifkin, one of Burstly’s co-founders, it notes that Burstly is terminating their publishing and SDK license agreement, 90 days from the date of the letter — in other words, June 9.

We are reproducing the text of the letter below, with names and other identifying data redacted. Another customer of SkyRocket’s, who used the service only on iOS, confirms that he has also received the same notice. And in the past day we have seen others mention the same 90-day window for SkyRocket on Twitter and elsewhere.

To be clear, there is no mention in the letter we have seen specifically of SkyRocket shutting down, but this appears to be the implication. “As our Publisher and SDK License is being terminated in 90 days, it’s a pretty strong indication SkyRocket is being closed,” our source tells us. “Apple may revise and offer up some new terms, but winning customers back will be hard given the course of action.”

Anecdotally we have also heard that people on the mediation team at SkyRocket were laid off a couple of weeks ago.

We’ve reached out to Apple and to Burstly to ask for comment on the letter and more information, and we’ll update as we learn more.

We don’t know how many customers Burstly had for SkyRocket.

As for the SkyRocket product, it covered areas like ad mediation (essentially a platform that lets developers integrate multiple ad networks and direct ads in an optimised way); app cross-promotion services; and customer segmentation (offering ways of segementing different customers and offering rewards or other perks if they are seeing a lot of crashes, or for loyalty, for example, or removing ads for other users).

SkyRocket competed against other startups, many of which have also been subsumed into bigger companies. They include MoPub (now part of Twitter), Mobclix (part of Velit), and AdMarvel (part of Opera).

While the SkyRocket suite of products, which first started to appear in 2011, catered initially more to larger publishers, last year it opened the doors to more smaller developers with a self-service platform.

All in all, just the kind of technology and product that would serve Apple well in its own developer ecosystem. But even if that is the case, the termination notices seem to imply that Apple wants a clean break regardless.

Publishing and SDK License Agreement – Termination

This letter serves as written notice that Burstly, Inc. shall terminate the Publishing and SDK License Agreement, dated as of XXXX, pursuant to Section X. Pursuant to this notice, the Agreement shall terminate as of 90 days from the date that notice is provided in accordance with Section XX of the Agreement.

We are looking forward to a smooth transition as we conclude our relationship under the Agreement.

Yours sincerely,

Ryan Rifkin