San Francisco -- Relentlessly amping up its struggle in the mobile-device market, social media outfit Facebook on Monday beefed up its mobile know-how, snatched up the three engineering experts behind Pieceable Software, a small I/O Ventures-backed startup that makes a handy developer tool to run and test iOS applications in the browser.
Especially, the Facebook-Pieceable deal is mainly of the acqui-hire variety as the social network has only singled out Pieceable's team of engineers, and is not purchasing the company, its technology, or its data.
Established last year, Pieceable makes an iOS app called the Pieceable Viewer, which enables developers of iPhone app upload their progression apps to the web and then share them with testers, colleagues, clients, and so forth. Besides, the tool, then, helps creators demonstrate their beta applications with remote audiences without needing a specific iPhone identification number (UDID).
“Since our launch, we have served over 800,000 app demos. It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience to become part of the daily work-flow for so many companies,” co-founders Fred Potter, Bob Ippolito, and Jameson Hsu wrote in a note to customers Monday announcing the Facebook news.
As part of the deal, “Facebook is not acquiring the company, technology, or customer data,” according to a note on the Pieceable website, adding that its service will continue running in its present form until the end of this year.
Moving ahead, Pieceable's three-man engineering team are expected to join Facebook's mobile team, and the iOS app web-testing service will remain operational through the end of this year.
“We can not wait to begin working with the Facebook team to help our friends, family, and more than 900 million others connect and share in new ways,” the Pieceable team noted.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Further describing the status of the service they said, “We will be closing down the Pieceable service at the end of the year so we can focus on the new challenges and opportunities at Facebook,” the engineers wrote.
Hence, those who still wish to use Pieceable will be able to do so even after the hosted service goes away. The company will release an open source version of Pieceable in “a few months” that users will be able to run on their own Mac hardware.
The open source version should be readily available around late September or early October. Pieceable will also release a tool to load previously uploaded app builds into the open source version.
However, the company has been widely seen as lagging behind in the mobile-advertising market, where it has yet to start realizing significant amounts of revenue. Facebook has made several other mobile acquisition recently. This is the company's latest talent purchase in the mobile sphere, the type of deal the company tends to make instead of splashy acquisitions like its Instagram purchase.