Apple has purchased Burstly, the company behind the popular iOS app testing platform called TestFlight. Terms of the deal haven't been leaked, but the acquisition apparently took place in the last two weeks, and TechCrunch reported that the company's engineers are already working at Apple.
TestFlight - Grounded
Apple didn't directly confirm the deal, but the company issued this boilerplate comment that it uses only when it has bought a company:
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
TestFlight allows developers to "invite" people to download and install an iOS app that is still in development and not in the App Store. It exists because of Apple's control over app installation combined with its App Store policies make it very difficult for developers to get their apps in the hands of outside testers.
Apple's purchase of Burstly suggests the company is ready to do something about that state of affairs, which is absolutely a Good Thing™.
Burstly has attempted to handle its acquisition in stealth mode. Without making an actual announcement, Burstly restricted use of TestFlight to existing projects only, and TechCrunch noted that the restrictions have not been publicly announced, not even on the TestFlight Changelog.
In addition to TestFlight, Burstly had launched an analytics service called FlightPath. That, too, has been quietly shuttered, and FlightPath URLs now redirect to TestFlight's home page.
Note that TestFlight was originally created by 23 Divide, which was itself acquired by Burstly in 2012. Dave Hamilton interviewed 23 Divide founder Ben Satterfield about TestFlight in 2011.