Facebook's Parse Purchase Follows Flurry of App Deals

The deal for Parse, which helps companies like the Food Network, Giorgio Armani, the Travel Channel and Cisco develop mobile applications, follows a flurry of startup purchases from competitors Yahoo and Google

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) has acquired Parse, which provides services for mobile application development.

The two companies have worked together previously, Parse says in a blog post. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports indicate the price tag was around $85 million.

Parse, based in San Francisco, is a cloud-based service that provides cross-platform tools for developers, so they can create applications with a unified back end that can be used on many types of mobile devices. The technology also allows the applications to work the same way on Facebook. The service counts the Food Network, Giorgio Armani, the Travel Channel and Cisco as customers.

The deal should allow mobile applications to integrate directly with Facebook, which beat out several other unidentified bidders for the company.

Parse has gotten about $7 million in venture capital funding from Google Venture, Menlo Ventures, Ignition Partners and more.

Facebook generally focuses on acquiring small startups.

In February, the company announced it was buying the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). Atlas provides campaign management for marketers. Microsoft invested in Facebook in 2007 by buying a 1.6 percent share for $240 million. In September, Facebook closed on its deal for photo-sharing application Instagram for about $735 million in cash and stock.

The social media giant is competing with Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) as it continues to buy tech startups. Google grabbed Nik Software, which developed mobile application Snapseed, in October, as well as Channel Intelligence, an e-commerce software developer, in February. Yahoo scooped up mobile-application developer Stamped in October, plus Jybe and Summly in March, in moves meant to expand the company's mobile services.

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