Some companies buy other companies. Apple buys people

LaLa CEO Bill Nguyen: Apple acquired us “for the people”

[Via Edible Apple]

In December 2009, Apple purchased LaLa, a young startup company that let users purchase, download, and stream songs for as little as $0.10 a song. The LaLa acquisition naturally led to speculation that Apple was planning on using LaLa’s streaming expertise to set up a cloud-based version of iTunes where users would be able to stream their content down to any number of iOS devices.

Late last Summer, though, reports surfaced that former LaLa employees weren’t even working on music related initiatives but rather an undisclosed video feature. Still, Apple had reportedly told Lala executives that they’d be involved in formulating Apple’s music strategy for iTunes at some point down the road. Indeed, a current LinkedIn search reveals that at least 10 former LaLa employees are still working for Apple.

But one LaLa executive who didn’t stick around too long was former LaLa CEO Bill Nguyen who’s Color app for the iPhone generated an impressive amount of press this past weekend.

Nguyen recently sat down with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky where he discussed the Apple acquisition and more.

When asked what became of LaLa, Nguyen answered:

“You know, I think Steve was pretty explicit. He got us for the people, and the vast vast majority of my friends are still at Apple and they’re building amazing things and I think people will be impressed by the work that they do.”


Everyone expects that when a corporation buys another company, it is to get the technology. So when Apple bought LaLa, everyone expected it was to stream music.

But it seems that Apple wanted the people to work on projects of its own. It’ll be interesting to see if they come up with anything.

Good people are more important than good ideas. Something an Apple cousin organization knows.