Facebook snaps up Parse to accelerate mobile app development

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has acquired software development platform Parse, signaling the social networking giant's entry into a new business category: Premium application development tools and services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but multiple reports indicate the cash-and-stock agreement is valued at about $85 million.

Facebook + Parse

Facebook acquires software development platform Parse.

Founded in 2011, Parse offers support for cloud-based data storage services, identity management and log-in tools, push notifications, social interactions and custom code. Applications leveraging the Parse platform run across operating systems including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 and JavaScript, as well as Windows 8 and Mac OS X for the desktop.

Parse currently powers more than 60,000 apps, according to TechCrunch. Basic services are free; a Pro version including additional requests and pushes, as well as collaboration, security and marketing tools is priced at $199 per month, and Parse also offers advanced enterprise services at custom annual prices.

Facebook will offer Parse services alongside its existing Facebook Platform APIs and developer tools. "By making Parse a part of Facebook Platform, we want to enable developers to rapidly build apps that span mobile platforms and devices," said Douglas Purdy, Facebook's director of product management. "Parse makes this possible by allowing developers to work with native objects that provide backend services for data storage, notifications, user management and more. This removes the need to manage servers and a complex infrastructure, so you can simply focus on building great user experiences."

Purdy added that Facebook will continue offering Parse's products and services. Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar said that Parse apps will not be affected "in any way" and adds that apps are not required to integrate Facebook functionality.

Parse has raised $7 million from investors including Ignition Partners. Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that in recent months, the startup was raising a financing round that would have valued its business at $50 million. Insiders added that file hosting platform Dropbox also bid for Parse, and that both Google and Yahoo additionally expressed interest in the firm. Spokespeople for Google and Yahoo declined to comment; Dropbox did not respond to a request for comment.

John Connors, a partner at Ignition Partners, told the Journal the deal will allow Facebook to offer a range of "data and services for mobile developers" overnight. Parse "had a lot of potential for creating a really big company--a number of enterprise and telecom companies had been evaluating them very, very closely," Connors added.

For more:
- read this Facebook Developer Blog post
- read this Parse Blog post
- read this TechCrunch article
- read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

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