Apple Acquired ‘Pandora for Books’ Startup BookLamp In April

Apple has acquired BookLamp, a “Pandora for books” startup that aimed to provide personalized book recommendations to readers via specialized algorithms, reports TechCrunch. BookLamp first shut down in April.

BookLamp was known for its Book Genome project, a book discovery engine that analyzed the text of books to break them down by various themes and variables to let readers search for books similar to books they liked.

For example, analyzing The Da Vinci Code, the search engine would break it down to elements of 18.6% Religion and Religions Institutions, 9.4% Police & Murder Investigation, 8.2% Art and Art Galleries, and 6.7% Secret Societies and Communities, and then it would be able to recommend a book similar to The Da Vinci Code based on that data.

booklampBookLamp screenshot via Mashable
This type of analytics service could be directly used to improve recommendations and search in iBooks, and as noted by TechCrunch, BookLamp’s technology could be used to create a competitor to Amazon X-Ray, which lets readers see where in the book certain terms or characters appear.

BookLamp also provided content analysis services to a number of e-book distributors like Amazon, Apple, and other publishers, screening books for categorization and providing a platform for publishers to screen manuscripts. The acquisition will see Apple ramping up its focus on books, according to one source with knowledge of the acquisition.

Part of the reason that Apple made the move to acquire BookLamp was because of this long list of clients. “At first Apple and BookLamp talked about growing their contract, but then they talked more from a strategic standpoint,” a source says. “What Apple wanted to do was, instead of contract, they wanted to make sure whatever work was done was done just for them.”

And what is that work? The details are not clear yet, but the source says, “in broad strokes, the goal that [founder Aaron] Stanton and three of the folks he was working with from the original BookLamp crew is to beat Amazon at their own game.”

BookLamp was purchased for a sum between $10 million and $15 million and while Apple has yet to confirm the purchase, a large amount evidence gathered by TechCrunch suggests several former BookLamp employees have relocated to Cupertino and are now working for Apple.

Update 6:30 PM PT: Apple has confirmed the purchase of BookLamp, giving Re/code its standard statement on purchases: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”





Bose Sues Beats for Patent Infringement Over Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bose today filed a lawsuit against Beats Electronics, accusing Beats of infringing on a number of patents related to noise cancellation and other audio technologies (via TechCrunch). The lawsuit accuses Beats Studio and Studio Wireless branded headphones, which advertise “Adaptive Noise Cancellation,” of violating five separate Bose patents in the United States.

In the filing, Bose points towards the 50 years of research, engineering, and development of noise cancellation techniques that went into the creation of its QuietComfort line of noise-cancelling headphones, which use the technology Beats has allegedly stolen.

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Beats has been accused of infringing on the following five U.S. patents, which pertain to various noice-cancelling techniques:

No. 6,717,537 – “Method and apparatus for minimizing latency in digital signal processing systems”
No. 8,073,150 – “Dynamically configurable ANR signal processing topology”
No. 8,073,151 – “Dynamically configurable ANR filter block topology”
No. 8,054,992 – “High frequency compensating”
No. 8,345,888 – “Digital high frequency phase compensation”

The lawsuit asks for an injunction that prevents Beats from continuing to produce products that infringe on Bose patents and it requests a damages award for using the company’s technology. Bose has also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, seeking a sales ban on the Beats products that violate its patents.

Bose’s infringement lawsuit against Beats is set to become Apple’s problem as the company’s purchase of Beats is expected to close this quarter. Apple initially announced its $3 billion acquisition of the headphone manufacturer in May. Apple is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits, including an ongoing dispute with Samsung Electronics and several class action suits brought against it by former employees.





OS X Yosemite Beta Failing to Download for Some Users

After announcing its OS X beta program at WWDC in June, Apple yesterday released the first beta version of the operating system to the public amid favorable reviews. For a growing number of people, the early impressions of OS X have not been positive due to a downloading issue that has prevented the installation of the OS.

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Users in MacRumors forums, Apple support forums and on Reddit have complained about not being able to download OS X Yosemite from the Mac App Store. These users have successfully redeemed a promo code and initiated the installation, only to have it fail during the download process. This issue has persisted more than 24 hours after the beta was released, suggesting it is not a problem with server overload.

Can’t get OS X Yosemite to download properly. Maybe it’s the limit I can download per month or something. Gonna go to Starbucks and try it.

— Micah (Trivol) (@TheMajesticW0lf) July 25, 2014

All Apple’s online services are fully operational, and Apple support has not mentioned any potential issues that could interfere with OS X downloads. Several users have reported that using a VPN and selecting an alternative country such as Canada has solved the download issue, while others have chosen to delay the install indefinitely.

Apple’s beta program has made OS X Yosemite available to up to a million new, non-developer users who now are experiencing the OS for the first time. Beta users can check out our first impressions post as well as our forums for troubleshooting tips, known issues and more.