Yahoo To Buy Video App Developer Qwiki

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The company is ready to invest around $50 million into automated video editing software

Yahoo has announced plans to acquire New York start-up Qwiki, which develops an eponymous automated video editing app for iOS.

Yet another acquisition of a mobile developer by Yahoo is part of the plan to reinvent the once-great company, and shape it into a competitor to Microsoft, Facebook and Google. It is the brainchild of the company’s new CEO Marissa Mayer, who was personally involved in talks with Qwiki.

According to sources quoted by Reuters, Yahoo will pay around $50 million for the company. Other details of the deal, initially rumoured in June, were not disclosed.

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Qwiki is an iOS app that scans users’ pictures, music and video, runs the content through clever algorithms and generates a “movie”, much like the Zoe feature that ships with the HTC One.

Another service developed by the start-up would generate videos based on popular search terms. Qwiki has already integrated this technology into Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

mzl.pvodeqzq.320x480-75“Have you ever listened to an old song and all of a sudden a favourite vacation, concert, or summer memory pops into your mind? The Qwiki app automatically turns pictures and videos that you already have on your iPhone into quick, beautiful movies to share, including transitions and a soundtrack,” explained Yahoo on its Tumblr blog.

Following the acquisition, Qwiki staff will move to Yahoo’s New York offices, but will continue supporting and developing their original app.

“Qwiki is a great example of the momentum in New York City’s booming tech sector,” said the Mayor of the city Michael Bloomberg. “While the company was started out west, they relocated here to be a part of our surging tech community… We congratulate them on their partnership with Yahoo!, and hope they continue to grow and thrive in New York City.”

It’s clear Yahoo wants to inject some new blood into its business through strategic acquisitions. In May, the company bought popular blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion (£725 million), prompting an exodus of users to WordPress despite assurances by Mayer that the deal would not “screw up” the site.

In June, Yahoo paid an undisclosed amount for photography app developer GhostBird Software and conference calling start-up Rondee. And earlier this week, the company also acquired fantasy sports app developer Bignoggins Productions.

At the same time, the company shut down a number of older services including search engine AltaVista and the Axis browser plug-in.

Below, you can see an example of automatically-generated content produced by Qwiki. Readers with developed tastes, respect for narrative or knowledge of video editing probably should give this one a miss.

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