Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Apple acquired video programming recommendation site Matcha. And it wasn't for their smarts (though I'm sure they are very smart, indeed).
Matcha built a personalization engine that Apple couldn't say no to -- they wanted that product under their roof.
Thing is, Matcha is pretty small potatoes -- in size and revenue. Small acquisitions aren't uncommon for Apple and, as TechCrunch notes, often go with little or no media attention. But Matcha was acquired for somewhere between $10 and $15 million.
TechCrunch notes that this wasn't a hiring acquisition: "This was about the product Matcha built and about the specific recipe for video recommendations it put together via its proprietary algorithm." And it wasn't just Matcha trying to figure this personalization stuff out -- they're competing against several other companies in just the video programming recommendation space, alone. But Matcha was able to figure out how to surface excellent content choices for the user, without bombarding them with too much to choose from. That balance between choice and guidance, driven by context, was key to their personalization success.
This of course speaks to consumer demand. Apple is a consumer-focused company. They solve for the user, because it makes them money. Their acquisition of Matcha will hopefully help them be able to surface more TV shows and movies for their customers to download -- and bolster the Apple TV product.
In other words, Apple knows there's big money in personalization, so they'll pay big money to be the first ones to figure it out in their space.
There are big bucks out there for companies that get personalization right. You know what they say: Give the people what they want.