CNN has acquired iPad news reader/aggregator Zite for an undisclosed amount (AllThingsD says “just over $20MM”). I prefer Zite to Flipboard and believe it’s a better execution. Zite launched in March this year and grew out of the ashes of “discovery Engine Worio.” It uses the same search technology.
Here are the bullets released by CNN:
- CNN has acquired technology company Zite, a news app for the iPad that gives users a personalized magazine-like experience, it was announced today by Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.
- CNN has added Zite to its already robust portfolio of digital products as a separate, stand-alone business that will continue to innovate and provide users with the news and information they want.
- Zite is an iPad app that leverages deeper technology to provide an individually personalized experience. Zite surfaces content to users that they will find most interesting from a variety of sources across the Web by learning users’ preferences and getting smarter as it’s used.
- CEO Mark Johnson will continue to run Zite’s day-to-day operations out of headquarters in San Francisco and will report to Estenson. Founder Ali Davar will stay on board as Executive Director. Mike Klass will continue to lead Zite’s technology R&D as CTO. Zite will be a wholly owned subsidiary of CNN.
- Available for free on the iPad, users can download Zite from the App Store or iTunes.
Here’s a “packaged quote” from CEO Mark Johnson about the rationale to sell now:
When I became CEO of Zite, I was faced with a difficult choice: take venture capital and race to build Zite into a viable business or join forces with a large company and work with a larger pool of resources. Despite many attractive paths in both directions, Zite chose to be acquired by CNN. We found a partner who shares our vision and our passion for building an incredible discovery platform.
Flipboard by contrast has raised more than $60MM to date. In addition to Flipboard, AOL Editions and Yahoo Livestand (yet to launch), among others such as Pulse, Taptu and News.me, are competitors. Here’s a video demo Zite.