Reports are circulating that Apple has acquired the app search and discovery platform Chomp, founded in 2009, adding fuel to the fire of speculation that the company's expertise will be used to fine tune a forthcoming App Store redesign.
The deal was first uncovered by TechCrunch, although no terms of the deal have yet been confirmed.
Chomp operates a search service for both iOS and Android apps and games, and has a deal in place with Verizon to power all of its marketplace searches. That deal, along with all of Chomp's other business not directly related to the Apple App Store, is likely to end once the acquisition and transition are completed.
The company's entire twenty-plus workforce is expected to be at least offered positions with the new owner, with 9-5 Mac reporting that Chomp CEO and co-founder Ben Keighran has become part of the iTunes marketing team, with CTO Kathy Edwards becoming a senior iTunes engineer.
Whether this indicates a focus on that side of Apple's business for the team and its tech remains to be seen, but the obvious application would be a revamp of the App Store itself.
Acquiring such a team could prove invaluable as Apple continues to combat its biggest problem: that of discoverability. With over half a million apps now available via the storefront, Apple has become something of a victim of its own success.
Since it began clamping down on app promotion services and paid-for drone download businesses Apple has been repositioning itself in a familiarly controlling stance over App Store rankings and the all-important front page places, but most believe that the issue cannot simply be ignored.