Apple Buys App Testing Platform Firm Burstly
February 22, 2014

TestFlight Beta Software Management Platform Owner Burstly Acquired By Apple

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Apple has acquired Burstly, the software company that owns mobile app testing platform TestFlight, Sarah Perez, Ryan Lawler and Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch first reported on Friday afternoon.

News of the acquisition comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that TestFlight would stop supporting Android devices as of March 21, and that it would also be discontinuing the software’s development kit, the reporters noted. Based on support documentation, only existing TestFlight teams will be able to continue to upload builds with the SDK, while Burstly is asking new users to remove the platform from their builds.

According to Mashable’s Jason Abbruzzese, the news will bring TestFlight – “one of the first services to help iOS developers automate and manage the beta testing of apps before they hit the App Store” and “one of the most widely used independent app testing platforms” under the umbrella of the iPad and iPhone manufacturer. Terms of the deal have not yet been publicly disclosed.

“Rather than having to manually maintain a list of user devices and ID numbers, TestFlight allows developers to quickly provision a device for testing and offers up a mobile-web interface that can push out apps and updates to testers on the fly,” Abbruzzese said. “This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Mobile application testing is still an arduous process but services such as TestFlight make it more manageable for both developers and end-users.”

It is the latest in a series of small company acquisitions completed by Apple, which Bloomberg Businessweek explains is often used to improve upon existing services or in the development of future products. For example, Apple acquired AuthenTec Inc. in 2012, and then used its fingerprint-security technology in the recently released iPhone 5s.

Abbruzzese suggests that the tech giant might have acquired the company because it “sees the need to offer application testing tools in-house,” and possibly with the intention of launching a Beta App Store - a way for users to download pre-release programs. Such a system “could offer developers a unique way to get a wider testing audience, get feedback on new features and even serve as a way to offer an early free trial of an app,” he added.

“The company also shut down FlightPath, its mobile analytics solution that entered into beta last year, following the Burstly/TestFlight tie-up,” Perez, Lawler and Etherington added. “Links to FlightPath now redirect to the TestFlight homepage, and this seems to be a recent change… The mobile analytics market is still young enough to make room for new players like what they had in store with FlightPath, so seeing it close up shop in under a year is very odd.”