FEBRUARY 24 2012 22:25h

Apple acquires app search company Chomp

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CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Apple Inc. said it has acquired app-search engine Chomp, absorbing its specialists and technology intended to make it easier to locate apps.

Apple is believed to have made the move to help consumers find and buy apps as the company's app store has grown to more than 550,000 titles, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Analysts say Apple's existing app-store search capability is fairly basic and developers sometimes complain of the difficulty in getting their apps discovered without being featured by Apple.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the acquisition beyond confirming the company occasionally buys technology companies and "generally doesn't discuss its purpose or plans," the Journal reported.

Chomp operates its search service for apps built for Google Inc.'s Android operating system but it was unclear if that would continue after its acquisition by Apple, analysts said.