Apple Buys VR Broadcasting Startup

Apple building

Apple has confirmed it has purchased NextVR, the virtual reality (VR) streaming startup, CNBC reported.

Apple declined to reveal the purchase price or the terms of the deal, but, a provider of news and reviews for Apple products and apps, estimates the sale was worth $100 million.

An Apple spokesperson would only say “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” according to CNBC.

The purchase is another sign of the technology giant’s interest in virtual and augmented reality (AR) technologies. Aside from AR software which allows iPhone owners to explore the universe in the comfort of their own homes, Apple has not announced plans for new software or hardware.

NextVR shuttered its Newport Beach, California, offices this week. Its website says: “NextVR is heading in a new direction. Thank you to our partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this awesome platform for sports, music and entertainment experiences in virtual reality.”

The company had focused on broadcasting and producing live and recorded sporting events and concerts in virtual reality. Last year, NextVR inked a deal with the National Basketball Association to broadcast virtual reality highlights of last year’s finals.

The company also had partnerships with Fox Sports, Wimbledon and other live music and sporting event partners, reported. But it failed to secure a Series C round of funding early last year, which resulted in a 40 percent staff reduction at the time.

At the close of last year, the company had raised $116 million in funding and had 95 employees, CNBC reported, citing PitchBook data.

The deal is at least the third for Apple this year, following the purchase of Voysis, an Irish startup that focuses on voice technology, and Dark Sky, a popular weather app, Bloomberg reported.

Last year, PYMNTS reported that VR and AR emerging technologies are expected to change the retail, healthcare, payments and manufacturing sectors.