Yahoo continues the journey of buying its way back to relevance today with the acquisition of social browser Rockmelt. A post on Rockmelt’s blog announcing the buyout confirmed the service’s apps and web product will be shut down on August 31.
Rockmelt got its start nearly five years ago, releasing a browser in 2010 that aimed to reinvent the way we surf the web. Using the same open source engine that powers Chrome, Rockmelt’s solution implemented a wealth of social sharing tools that let users share things with their friends on social networks.
That didn’t go over so well. As it turns out, people prefer to actually use social networks to share stuff with their friends and didn’t need a middleman to handle it. Rockmelt shuttered the browser a year later with plans to refocus and build a content aggregator. The resulting app / browser gathered news from around the web and included basic browser functionality but even then, it wasn’t a hit.
By June, only a million or so people ever tried the iOS app and only half ever returned the next day to use it again.
Neither Yahoo nor Rockmelt disclosed the value of the deal although a report from All Things D pins it somewhere between $60 and $70 million. When you consider that Yahoo is planning to kill all of the company’s apps from the get-go, it becomes pretty clear that this is yet another talent acquisition.
Furthermore, Yahoo’s senior vice president of mobile co-signed the original blog post announcing the purchase meaning Yahoo is probably interested in at least some of the Rockmelt team for their mobile division.