/// Yahoo Paid $60M to $70M for Rockmelt — Will Dump Browser and Use Tech to Better Deliver Its Media and Mobile Properties
According to sources close to the situation, Yahoo paid $60 million to $70 million for social browser startup Rockmelt , with an aim of using its technology to turbocharge its myriad of media and mobile properties. The ambitious startup had not gained as much traction with its desktop browser as had been hoped since it launched several years ago to much attention, but it is hoped a link with the Silicon Valley Internet giant will give it a new energy. Sources said that Rockmelt has been focusing its attention of late on its mobile efforts and this engineering will become part of Yahoo’s own efforts in the area. The deal is not exactly a win for investors, who pumped close to $40 million into what was essentially a moonshot effort to compete via differentiation with browser powerhouses, including Google Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Rockmelt’s funders included a panoply of big names in venture and also angel investing, such as Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Bill Campbell, First Round Capital and Ron Conway. But the acquisition does land a very gifted tech team at Yahoo, which is in need of more such talent. In the deal, its founders — ex-Netscape team member Tim Howes and former OpsWare employee Eric Vishria — will become key execs in the effort, with Howes running engineering for all its mobile products and Vishria becoming a VP for media products across Yahoo. As Mike Isaac just reported , Yahoo announced that it had acquired Rockmelt, a startup which aimed to reinvent the way users browse the Web through a host of social features. “The parallels between Yahoo! and Rockmelt are obvious: we share a common goal to help people discover the best personalized content from around the web,” said Yahoo product heads Mike Kerns and Adam Cahan in a company blog post. Rockmelt was created by Howes and Vishria and was originally launched an entirely new desktop browser back in 2010 , a standalone app to combat the likes of Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, among others. As Isaac noted, “the fledgling browser company seemed to face almost too many hurdles on all fronts, and failed to gain as widespread adoption in the browser market as it had hoped to.” Rockmelt plans to shut down its existing apps at the end of August, the company said. That’s a far cry from Rockmelt’s once-lofty ambitions.
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