The video and audio sharing service Color has had a rocky life. It launched with $41 million in backing in 2011, with a huge amount of hype, and the promptly no-one used it. Earlier this week, it was reported the service was to shutdown, which the company then denied. And now, the most bizarre rumor: that Apple has acquired this whole mess for millions of dollars.
We’ve heard through trusted sources that the startup was nabbed for a price that is in the ‘high double digits’, as in millions, and that the deal is ‘done’, though papers have yet to be signed.
Why in the world would Apple want this insane boondoggle? It’s about the patents — Color’s got a lot of stake in the photo and video sharing world which Apple might like to look at.
According to the US PTO, Color has filed applications for a number of patents on very general and very valuable things. We’re talking patents with titles such as “Sharing Content Among A Group Of Devices,” “Sharing Content Among Multiple Devices,” “Storage Of User Device Group Information,” and “User Device Group Information.”
The company also owns the trademark to its name. That’s right, it has the word “color” trademarked.
So, even though it’s a service that managed to flop despite $41 million in backing, and with no users to speak of, those patents they built up creating the service just might save them in the long run.
UPDATE: AllThingsD says Apple is buying the talent, not the company. They’re hiring the engineering team, but not the IP, name, or company.