The deal will see Swell’s chief executive Ram Ramkumar, who was chief architect for Amazon’s Visual Search, and other key members of its team join Apple and the free app and service shut down this week, reports Recode.
Swell raised $7.2m in funding from Google Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and InterWest Partners among others for an app that provided a personalised radio service using both podcasts and live streaming radio.
Personalised radio worth $30m
The app has been described as the "Pandora for talk radio", learning the listening habits of users and suggesting and building a personalised radio experience, highly tuned for listening in the car.
"Let Swell personalise your audio experience so you can lean back and enjoy the content you’re interested in," explains the company in its US-only App Store listing. "Listen to what Swell plays. If you like it, keep listening; if not, just swipe to move on."
"Swell learns what you like as you go and will continue to deliver the content most relevant to you," the company said.
Replacing the unloved Podcast app
Apple’s own Podcast app, which used to be integrated directly into the iPhone and iPad’s music player, allows users to subscribe to podcasts and listen to them, but does not provide a learning, personalised service.
It is also not well rated in the iTunes store, with many preferring third-party paid apps like Pocket Casts, Instacast and others. Swell was well liked by both critics and users, with a 4.5-star average rating on Apple’s App Store.
Swell had been testing an Android app for the service. It is likely that the app will be killed off and not released to the public.
Apple and Swell had not responded to request for comment by the time of publication.
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