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acquisition

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Amazon to acquire Middle East online commerce site SOUQ.com

The news has been abuzz for a couple of days in the Middle Eastern region, but it has now been made official, press release and all: Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire SOUQ.com.

For those of you who don't live in the Middle East and haven't heard of SOUQ (which means "market" in Arabic), you can think of it as India's Flipkart maybe or well, Amazon, but serving a few local countries in the region: UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and also shipping to Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. It has made a name for itself as one of the leading online retailers for shopping for clothes, electronics, beauty products, home items, sports equipment, baby products, and more.

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Spotify acquires sound identification firm Sonalytic

While Spotify remains primarily a streaming music service, the apps and web portals have become more and more capable as the company continually tweaks them. That looks to continue as Spotify has acquired Sonalytic, a tech firm dedicated to audio and music recognition systems. The terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed in the short announcement post on Spotify's blog, but the company did say that Sonalytic's expertise would be used for "improving Spotify’s personalized playlists, matching songs with compositions, [and] improve our publishing data system."

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Mozilla announces acquisition of Pocket

If you've never used it, Pocket is a popular app that allows you to save links from several browsers and other applications in an easily-accessible list. Mozilla and Pocket have been working together for a while now, most notably to bring native Pocket integration to Firefox. Now Read it Later, Inc., owners of Pocket, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla.

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Popular shopping list app Out of Milk gets acquired by Retale

Remembering what we want to buy when going shopping is a problem that plagues many members of the human race, so naturally, we use apps to fill that gap. Of the most popular of said apps is Out of Milk, an Android-only application which has just been acquired by Retale, which will nearly double the latter's userbase in the process.

Retale, if you're unaware, is a "provider of mobile-first shopping experiences" in the US. Its app features deals, coupons, vouchers from large brick-and-mortar stores, plus the ability to follow your favorite retailers. Presumably, Retale thought it would be easier to purchase an existing shopping list app instead of making one from scratch (in today's bloated, cramped app environment, it's probably a fair assumption), and Out of Milk came out on top.

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Google acquires Fabric, a popular mobile developer platform for performance tracking and crash reporting

Ask all of the mobile app developers to name the SDKs and third-party services they're using and the answer you're likely to hear more than any other is Fabric, or possibly Crashlytics (a component of Fabric). Many apps rely on Fabric for crash reporting, performance metrics, and other services that are hard to build in-house, but prove very useful when supporting an app and making business decisions. Fabric announced earlier today that it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Google, leaving behind its parent company Twitter.

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Google acquires Limes Audio to create "the best online voice quality on the market"

Google today announced that it has acquired Limes Audio, a Swedish sound company specializing in acoustic echo cancellation and speech enhancement. The move reaffirms Google's intentions to continue improving sound and call quality across its suite of products, particularly in Google Hangouts.

Poor internet connections or noisy environments like coffee shops can have a significantly adverse effect on the audio quality in an online chat, making it hard to understand the person on the other end. Hardware solutions like noise cancelling microphones are designed to filter out ambient noise and today come standard in most mid- to high-end phones, but they do little to reduce echos — and do nothing to address connectivity issues.

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'Marvel: Contest of Champions' publisher Kabam will sell its assets to South Korean firm Netmarble

The mobile market represents the biggest chunk of video game sales on the planet. It's also the most diverse and contentious, with no clear formula for achieving success or return on investment. When something like Flappy Bird can bring in a million times its operating cost while presumably sure-fire licensed games flop, there's no reliable way to know if your developer's next game will break even. Kabam, a publisher focused on licensed titles from Marvel, Warner Bros., and Universal, is no exception. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company will be selling most of its assets early next year.

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CNN acquires Beme, taps co-founder Casey Neistat for a new network in summer of next year

Video-sharing social network Beme has been racking up downloads over the last couple of months - since launching on Android in May, it's had between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads. Everything has to come to an end though, as CNN has acquired the company and its co-founder, Casey Neistat. He runs a popular YouTube channel, and will be working on a new network at the media giant, to launch in summer 2017.

Beme is, or was, an app that allowed users to share quick, raw, unedited video to their followers. Many of the users were part of Neistat's online following, but the app has been struggling recently against similar visual apps such as Snapchat or Instagram.

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Samsung acquires Canadian telecom NewNet to bolster its RCS offerings

Rich Communications Services, more frequently abbreviated to RCS, is something of a hot-button topic in the mobile tech world right now. It's essentially a replacement for SMS that incorporates a lot of the functions of popular new messaging systems like WhatsApp, supplanting the antiquated text messaging standard with something more capable and flexible. The problem is that "RCS" is something of a generic term, and every gigantic international megacorp and their gigantic international mother wants their own standard. After today, you can add Samsung to the list.

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Qualcomm to acquire NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion

Qualcomm has announced that it plans to acquire NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion USD, including debt, which will be the largest semiconductor deal ever. NXP, for those of who don't know, is a large player in the automotive, IoT, and security chips market. For reference, its chips are behind 14 of the top 15 most-popular infotainment systems. 

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