March 5, 2014
Flipboard is buying Zite, the news reader app which CNN acquired in 2011. The result: Zite is shutting down. According to CNN, the acquisition could be valued as high as “$60 million over time.” As part of the deal, Flipboard is teaming with CNN to launch custom magazines for shows anchored by Fareed Zakaria, Jake Tapper, and John King. CNN purchased Zite for $20 million. Though the Zite app is shutting down, the personalization technology it uses will remain alive and well. Flipboard plans to use it to aggregate content in its own app. According to Flipboard CEO Mike McCue:
By bringing the Zite team and technology to Flipboard, we can deliver an even more personalized experience to every Flipboard reader.In a follow-up report, Re/code notes that Zite CEO Mark Johnson will not be heading to Flipboard. However, CNN says most of its 20 employee will go to work for the company. As a long-time Zite user, I find this news a little unnerving. My initial reaction to CNN's acquisition of Zite in 2011 wasn't exactly positive. I was concerned Zite would go corporate and forget its roots. Those concerns were largely put to rest following a lengthy discussion with Johnson. Perhaps my first instinct was correct after all. For now Zite remains on the App Store. Flipboard has not yet announced when the free app will be removed.