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Thursday, February 23, 2012, 07:08 pm PT (10:08 pm ET)

Apple acquires Chomp app search engine to enhance App Store

Apple has acquired Chomp, a search engine designed to find and discover apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. The purchase appears intended to enhance software discovery the App Store.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco-based Chomp was founded in 2009 and has raised $2.5 million in funding.

Apple has been frequently questioned about how it plans to spend its nearly $100 billion cash pile, but Chomp is only the second acquisition the company has made this year, following the January purchase of Anobit. The price of Chomp wasn't announced, but Bloomberg later reported that Apple paid $50 million.



Apple's App Store has limited search and discovery features, something Apple has worked to improve. Chomp's website and mobile app offer term search, sale listings, trending apps, new apps and other categories intended to make it easier to discover specific apps among the library of what is now more than 550,000 titles in the App Store.

Chomp currently powers Verizon's Android app search, and offers both an Android app and features search of Android apps on its website, all of which Apple is likely to terminate.

Apple's acquisitions are often talent based, and Chomp executives are reportedly now working in iTunes Marketing and as Senior iTunes Engineers. Previous recent Apple acquisitions resulted in the products and services of iAd, iTunes Match and Siri.