Apple Buying Nearly Defunct Color Labs

Apple to buy Color LabsApple is apparently in the process of buying the failed social networking company Color Labs. The company was co-founded by Bill Nguyen, who also happened to launch LaLa -- the online music service Apple purchased in 2009 and later shut down.

The Color team had hoped to make a name for themselves as a dynamic photo and video sharing social network that showed images based on your location instead of simply based on who you follow. Instead, the company was known for raking in US$14 million in funding for a project that was seen as risky at best, and for executive-level fighting.

Color never took off with the social networking crowd and reports that the company may land in Apple's lap are just as surprising as the news that the company was still around.

News of the potential purchase comes from sources talking with The Next Web, although they didn't offer up any details other than the selling price is in the "high double digits," meaning at least $10 million.

Exactly what Apple would want with the failing company isn't clear, although there is speculation that patents might be the real target. The company holds patents for an HD video format, GPS location and battery saving. It also has patents pending for actions like sharing content between devices, and "user device group formation."

Assuming Apple really making the purchase, that's good news for Color Labs. The company has been dealing with internal turmoil almost since its inception and is apparently close to shutting down, too.

Whether Apple is after talent or patents, it's clear the company doesn't have its sites on picking up a successful social networking service -- at least not with this deal.