It’s a day of the week that ends in ‘Y,’ so that means Yahoo has purchased yet another tech startup. Today its Rockmelt, a “social browser” that had attempted to enter the desktop web browser market a few years ago with social network integration, but failed to make a dent in the stranglehold of more mainstream browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer, to name a few. Apparently the start-up has focused more on mobile in recent years, and that focus seems to be why Yahoo has taken an interest in the start-up.

A post on AllThingsD about the acquisition reports that the purchase cost Yahoo somewhere between $60 and $70 million, citing “sources close to the situation.” The post says that by bringing Rockmelt into the fold, Yahoo hopes to use “its technology to turbocharge its myriad of media and mobile properties.” That Yahoo would want to bring a mobile-optimized, social network-integrated web browser into the fold makes a ton of sense considering both the importance of mobile, and Yahoo’s relative lack of presence in that space—at least compared to other tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the rest of the heavy hitters CEO Marissa Meaer is looking to compete with.

In fact, other recent acquisitions reveal that things are all going according to plan. Just a couple weeks ago, Yahoo bought Admovate, a startup geared specifically towards making ads for the mobile space. Bringing Rockmelt under Yahoo’s umbrella dovetails perfectly with Admovate’s reason for being. And then there were the hints that Yahoo would go after FourSqure. While that hasn’t yet happened—and may never happen at all—it’s clear that the company’s still gunning for the mobile space pretty hard.

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A post on by the company’s founders on Rockmelt’s blog about the acquisition points to the way that Yahoo’s mission and its own are already more or less in sync:

“Yahoo! and Rockmelt share a common goal: To help people discover the best content from around the web. In our short four and a half years at Rockmelt, we’ve learned a lot about how you like to browse the web, discover content, and share the great stuff you’ve found.”

Clearly Yahoo is looking to engage users, and help them find ways to engage with each other. Rockmelt and its team is tailor made for such an endeavor, and Yahoo’s purchase of the blogging giant Tumblr in May is yet another piece of this user-centric puzzle.

All this raises plenty of questions, but the big one in my mind is this: which company is next?

  • It’s always a little sad to see a decent start up bite the dust (although maybe this will be good for it in the end). Rockmelt was one of my more favorite of the chrome based browsers. Of course there are still several more that use the same platform including the torch browser which is still the best of the chromium browsers.


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