Microsoft Eyeing News-Reader App Prismatic For Acquisition
Microsoft has been acquiring quite a few startups lately, and another that we hear of is of the Prismatic app, which automatically decides and shows users relevant news articles based on their virtual behavior over the Internet.
While a number of companies are running to the line to grab the apparent trophy app, Microsoft seems ahead of them all. Though it is still vague as to what stage the talks are the moment, Microsoft has been showing the “most serious interest” as compared to Apple and Yahoo. Earlier, Google and Facebook had also shown keen interest in the startup, but according to TechCrunch, Microsoft is being finalized as the ultimate buyer, and mentions the price – a whopping $30 million.
Prismatic was founded by both Bradford Cross and Aria Haghighi, who excel at machine learning. Prismatic is an intelligent consumer-focused news reader, which learns the behavior and likes dislikes of the user, based on what he/she is liking or reading. Built for Android, iOS and the web, Prismatic keeps on increasing its learning by checking whether you click, save, share, comment or like on the links it recommends to you based on your likes.
While the two-year old Prismatic has garnered very positive reviews and feedback from users, the founders believe that the journey of getting people to use a news-centered application to solely get news is a “little tricky,” as TechCrunch says:
“It’s not clear there’s enough of a news junkie audience to sustain [those] companies by consumer Internet standards,” the source says, a predicament that likely also impacts its competitors, such as Flipboard. “It’s also not clear that even a beautiful, relevant product can tear people away from social networks as the primary distribution channel for that kind of content. People turn to Twitter/Facebook for reasons stronger and stickier than news.”
Prismatic saw a boom in its downloads initially, as it started among the top 10 iPhone news apps in the U.S. But over time its iPhone app has been seeing a constant downfall, as of February 28 downloads were as low as 758. Its overall ranking never managed to break 200, according to App Annie.
However, the technology and smart algorithms used by the app provides a whole lot of opportunities to Microsoft, if it acquires Prismatic. It could be applied to product searches, more generic web searches, or to discover apps, music or other content.