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Apple buys Justin Timberlake-backed HTML 5, Web apps firm Particle

October 17, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • The Apple logo at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco last month.
The Apple logo at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco last month. (KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty…)

Another app company and some of its employees may have quietly joined the Apple family.

According to a CNET report, Apple has acquired San Francisco creative consulting firm Particle and added some of its dozen employees to Apple's staff.

Particle specializes in Web applications and HTML 5 marketing projects, which aligns with Apple's vision: The company has been pushing for more HTML 5 use since Steve Jobs dismissed Adobe Flash from Apple mobile devices more than two years ago. HTML 5 is the markup language for designing Web pages.

"We heart HTML5," the Particle website says. "We embrace and extend the coming wave of standards-based user interface technology."

Singer and actor Justin Timberlake has been the lead investor in Particle, whose clients have included Google, Disney, Motorola, Amazon, Yahoo and Sony. Its website says the company also has "great relationships with Apple," which includes consulting work by one of the company's founders, Aubrey Anderson.

In addition to its Web application work, Particle developed video social network Robo.to and Intervue.me, a video interviewing project.

Although the report has not been confirmed by Apple, several Particle employees have changed their LinkedIn employment information. That includes founder Ericson deJesus, who's now listed as an Apple employee. Particle front-end developer Lynn Collette's profile now lists her as a UI engineer at Apple, and a tweet she sent Tuesday appears to confirm the deal.

Apple did not return request for comment.

The company frequently acquires smaller companies without commenting or confirming: In February, Apple paid a reported $50 million to acquire Chomp, a search program for Apple Store apps. In July, it acquired security hardware and software company Authentec for $356 million.

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