Apple snaps up personal assistant app Cue

Faith Merino · October 3, 2013 · Short URL:

Is Apple hoping to build a smart calendar for the next version of iOS?

Apple has been doing its damndest lately to make Siri useful. Now it looks like Apple is trying to kick the “personal assistant” deal up a notch with the acquisition of personal assistant/smart calendar app Cue.

Formerly known as Greplin, the app previously indexed content from social sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as from Gmail, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and more, to make searching for specific documents easier.

Last year, the company rebranded as Cue and continued to index content from users social networks and emails to create daily agendas. In essence, the company took the whole “personal assistant” trend that everybody’s been all uppity about—and it actually made a personal assistant app. None of this “Siri, is it raining outside right now?” bullshit.

Apple has confirmed the acquisition with characteristic vagueness, but obviously has not confirmed the acquisition price, which is being reported by different news outlets as falling somewhere in the range of $35 million and $60 million.

Cue shut down earlier this week without explanation, saying only that Premium users will get a prorated refund and that all user data and personal information has been permanently deleted.

“We appreciate all of the support from you, our users, as Cue has grown over the last few years,” the company wrote in a message on its homepage. “We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. It’s been an incredible journey that wouldn’t have been possible without your loyal support.”

The note was signed by “the Cue team,” which consists of co-founders Dniel Gross and Robby Walker.

Cue, a graduate of Y Combinator, raised $4.72 million from Sequoia Capital, Keith Rabois, Founder Collective, SV Angel, Paul Buchheit, Lerer Ventures, and more. AppleInsider is reporting that Cue actually raised an undisclosed $10 million round from Index Ventures.

What does Apple have to say about all of this? The usual spiel: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple’s vagueness aside, what’s not vague is the demand for “personal assistant” apps—or really any app that will organize your life for you. Smart calendars are a particularly hot space, with startups like Tempo and Sunrise angling for the upper hand in the market. So it’s very possible that the next version of iOS could include a smart calendar that auto-updates based on data from your social networks and emails. 


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