June 3, 2014
Mobile App Downloading Service Pryte Picked Up By Facebook
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Facebook has acquired Pryte, a Finnish provider of technology that lets smartphone users download applications through a temporary mobile data allowance system. The Helsinki-based startup made the announcement that the social network had acquired its business for an undisclosed sum.
Pryte's technology allows app makers and carriers to sell mobile data in incremental – and thus potentially low-priced – packages based around app usage.
"Today, we are delighted to announce that our team will be joining Facebook," the Pryte team posted on its website. "Since we launched Pryte we have worked to reimagine the way mobile data works in an app-driven world, by enabling partnerships between app and content providers, and mobile operators.
"Now, we're joining Facebook, whose mission to connect the world by partnering with operators to bring people online in a profitable way aligns closely with our team’s goals," Pryte added. "We are excited to get started, and make an even greater impact by advancing the work we are doing in collaboration with Facebook's great team working to further Internet.org's goal of making affordable internet access available to everyone in the world."
The deal will reportedly close later this month.
Pryte's service has not publicly launched yet, but could be a good fit for social media as it would make it easier for consumers without wireless data plans to actually use online services via short-term passes.
Reuters also reported that Facebook was primarily interested in the team, which is led by Chief Executive Markku Makalainen. While Pryte only launched a little over a year ago, and has fewer than 30 employees the company has already forged relationships working with wireless operators, notably in emerging markets.
Reuters reported that it is not clear how many of Pryte's employees will join Facebook. However it is clear that at least some will join the ranks of the social media giant.
"The Pryte team will be an exciting addition to Facebook," Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg Businessweek. "Their deep industry experience working with mobile operators aligns closely with the initiatives we pursue with Internet.org, to partner with operators to bring affordable Internet access to the next 5 billion people, in a profitable way."
This is just the latest in a series of acquisitions made by Facebook since CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the formation of a coalition of companies that would help connect the world. Facebook has partnered with wireless operators and even tested drone technology to supply Internet connectivity to people in the developing world. This effort, dubbed Internet.org, has sought ways to provide web access to people who can't connect to the Internet.
Facebook reportedly estimates that number to be around five billion people. Pryte's relationships in the developing world could thus give Facebook a jump start on its Internet.org efforts in those regions. The goal for Facebook of course is to get more eyeballs on its social network.
Techcrunch's Ingrid Lunden reported that Facebook has continued to focus on adding "the next billion" users and mobile devices could be the primary route for many in the developing world to get online.