Apple Buys Out Cue in Effort to Contend With Google Now

App formerly known as Greplin - co-founded by Israeli whiz kid Daniel Gross - bought for $40 million.

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Personal social networking index startup Cue co-founded by whiz kid Daniel Gross has been bought out by Apple for a sum estimated at around $40 million.

Several days ago, before the purchase was disclosed, Cue surprised its users with a notice on its website that it was shuttering its service.

Gross, along with Robbie Walker, founded Greplin which morphed last year into Cue, raising $4.7 million along the way from funds such as Sequoia Capital, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, as well as angel investors such as Joshua Kushner, Paul Buchheit, and Bret Taylor.

Raised in Jerusalem, Gross originally planned on enlisting into the army but fate took an unexpected twist when, on a trip to San Francisco, he was accepted into the Y Combinator startup program.

It was there that Gross came up with the idea for Greplin, an app that enables users to access all their social media information – from Tweeter, Facebook, G mail, Google Drive, Dropbox, and others – on one condensed platform. In June 2012 Greplin was rebranded as Cue. The service was provided through either the company's website or a dedicated iOS application.

Over the weekend the following message appeared on Cue's website: "We appreciate all of the support from you, our users, as Cue has grown over the last few years. However, the Cue service is no longer available.

"In accordance with our privacy policy, your data and personal information will not be stored or transferred; it has been permanently deleted," the message also says.

It was later learned that Apple acquired the company in order to contend with some of the phenomenal functionality of Google Now. "From time to time Apple acquires small technological companies, and generally doesn't its intentions or future plans for the company."

Gross, however, is still left with a problem: The army is after him for failing to report for duty and, having failed to reach an arrangement with the authorities, is subject to arrest by the military police upon his return to Israel.

Daniel Gross (R) and Robbie Walker, founders of Greplin.Credit: Bloomberg

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