Apple Quietly Acquires Database Vendor FoundationDB

No price tag was announced for the deal, which reportedly comes as Apple continues to dip into about $178 billion in amassed cash reserves from sales of its incredibly successful products.

Apple, FoundationDB, acquisition

Apple has acquired the startup behind the Foundation DB database in a move that could be aimed at helping Apple continue to improve and support its own services to its own customers.

The acquisition was reported in a March 24 story by The Wall Street Journal, which said that the purchase could be used by Apple "to run software services like iMessage more efficiently." Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced by the companies.

Apple did not respond to email inquiries from eWEEK on March 25, nor did a representative of FoundationDB.

In a note on its Website, however, FoundationDB did not mention the sale of its company, but thanked users for their support of FoundationDB over the last five years. "We're grateful to have shared our vision of building the best database software and we strongly value your participation in this community," the note stated. "We have made the decision to evolve our company mission and, as of today, we will no longer offer downloads."

FoundationDB is a high performance database that provides NoSQL and SQL capabilities for users. Such databases have become more popular in recent years compared with traditional relational database management systems because they better serve the emerging generation of interactive applications, according to an earlier eWEEK report. NoSQL databases offer the flexibility, scalability and performance that today's Web and mobile app developers demand.

FoundationDB is multimodel database, meaning you can store many types of data all in a single database, according to FoundationDB. It has a distributed architecture that can be scaled up or down as needed, and handles faults all while looking and acting like a single ACID database, the company stated. It runs well on commodity hardware, allowing users to support heavy loads at a fraction of the cost of specialized hardware.

For deep-pocketed Apple, the acquisition of FoundationDB is apparently just the latest investment expenditure from its huge cash holdings of some $178 billion that's available for expansion and research. In January, Apple announced its best-ever financial quarter, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 due to a consumer frenzy of sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, Mac computers, and apps and more in the company's App Store. That revenue tally is a 30 percent increase over the $57.6 billion in revenue that was posted for the same quarter one year ago, while the $18 billion in net profit was up 37 percent from the $13.1 billion net profit that was posted in the same quarter one year ago, according to a recent eWEEK report.

Apple has been spending some of that huge cash pile on other ideas as well. In February it was learned that Apple has been looking to diversify its business into electric car production, possibly by 2020, as it explores new business opportunities outside of its core consumer technology and computer, tablet and smartphone businesses. The electric car efforts were revealed in Feb. 19 reports by The New York Times and by Bloomberg based on anonymous sources who described the project as growing and in a "prototype phase."

The company has been hiring people over the last several years to expand that effort, according to the reports.

Electric cars aren't the only electricity topic on the company's agenda recently. Earlier in February, Apple unveiled its plans to purchase $848 million worth of solar power for its corporate use over 25 years from a solar power facility that is being built in Arizona by First Solar as part of its goal to combat climate change by cutting its reliance on fossil fuels.