Apple to acquire Pandora-for-podcasts app Swell for $30 million

Callum Tennent
July 28, 2014

Apple’s acquisition train keeps on chugging along, as it is set to make yet another purchase.

This time, the service in question is Swell. It’s an app which offers tailored podcast and talk-radio streams for its users, much in the way that services like Pandora and Rdio offer tailored music streams. It learns what topics and broadcasts you enjoy from your listening habits, and has a simple interface to make it suitable for in-car listening.

The purchase is expected to set Apple back around $30 million, which is relatively little for the service that it will be gaining. After all, there are two key factors which put this deal into perspective: Apple’s recent,  enormous  acquisition of Beats Electronics, and the iOS App Store’s existing podcast service, which isn’t very good.

With Apple’s Podcast app currently sitting with an average rating of just 1.5 stars, it will surely be hoping that it will be able to use Swell’s pleasing visuals and intelligent to remedy what is a badly designed and frankly unpopular app. Alternatively, Apple may simply leave both apps as-is and just make a large promotional push for Swell.

Apple got in there just in time, too, as Swell was midway through beta-testing an Android version of the app, but we’d be amazed if that ever saw the light of day following the completion of this deal.

If Swell sounds like your sort of thing, don’t go rushing to the App Store. As a part of the deal it’s actually been removed for a week, presumably as a part of some sort of due diligence, or possibly even a redesign.

Most of the Swell team will be joining Apple, including CEO Ram Ramkumar.



About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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