Apple acquires Buddybuild, plans to shut it down to Android developers

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An Apple employee walks near an Apple logo during the sale start of the new iPhone X at the Apple store Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse in Frankfurt, Germany.
An Apple employee walks near an Apple logo during the sale start of the new iPhone X at the Apple store Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse in Frankfurt, Germany.

Image: ARMANDO BABANI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Apple snapped up another startup and it could have big implications for Android developers.

The company announced it acquired Buddybuild, a Canadian startup that makes tools for app developers. But those tools will soon be limited to only Apple developers as the company plans to shut down its Android support in the coming weeks.

The startup will be folded into Apple’s Xcode engineering group, Buddybuild wrote in a blog post announcing the move. Though the company will continue to operate out of its Vancouver headquarters, the acquisition should have a noticeable impact on many developers.

In the longterm, the acquisition is very likely good news for iOS developers. Apple plans to integrate Buddybuild’s software, which enables developers to more efficiently test and tweak their apps, into Xcode, according to TechCrunch. Given that Buddybuild is already popular among many developers, being directly integrated into Apple’s own development tools will make things even easier for app makers.

But, unsurprisingly, the outlook is decidedly less rosy for Android developers who will no longer be able to use Buddybuild after March 1. While there are alternative services, the change will leave many developers scrambling to make the switch in just a few weeks.

Moreover, it underscores what some developers see as a need for independent third-party services that make valuable developer tools. Increasingly, these companies are being gobbled up by tech giants, causing anxiety for developers reluctant to change their existing workflows.

Apple hasn’t disclosed terms of the deal or when Buddybuild features will start appearing in Xcode, but it seems like a safe bet that we’ll hear more about their plans this summer at Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference, if not sooner.

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