In a statement released earlier today, online news reader Flipboard announced it has bought rival Zite from CNN. As part of the deal, Zite will be folded into Flipboard and CNN will now be available on Flipboard “paginated and re-designed for mobile audiences.”
Flipboard co-founder and CTO Mike Klass elaborated on the acquisition in a blog post earlier today. “We acquired Zite from CNN to address something we’ve heard from a lot of you: although you can already read thousands of sources from over 20 regions on Flipboard, you want easier and better ways to discover content about the things that matter to you. Adding Zite’s expertise in personalization and recommendations to Flipboard’s product experience and powerful curator community will create an unparalleled personal magazine for our millions of readers.”
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Klass also provided a little insight on how the deal came together and the potential synergies. “Zite’s focus was on topics, while Flipboard was mostly about publications; Flipboard was a reader for social media but Zite tried hardest to find articles you couldn’t find on your Twitter feed,” he explained. “The two products look superficially similar but couldn’t be more different under the hood.”
“Our goals are the same, and if our methods are different, that is not a source of weakness but of strength: Flipboard has an impressive curation team, unrivaled publisher network, and incredible scale,” Klass explained. “Zite has world-class recommendations technology and expertise in topic-based discovery. Both companies have amazing design and mobile engineering talent. I’m absolutely convinced that joining forces with Flipboard is the right next step in achieving the vision we started with back in 2005.”
History of Zite
CNN acquired Zite almost three years ago in August of 2011. In a statement at the time, CNN said the acquisition was designed to capitalize on the growing field of “content discovery and personalized publishing”. Zite had just debuted on the iPad at the time, though the company had been in business since 2005.
Other competition in the news reader sectors includes Facebook Paper and Pulse.