Former Color employee talks about Apple's Lala deal
Aubrey Johnson is a former employee of Color, the startup recently acquired by Apple and founded by Bill Nguyen, who sold another company to Apple called Lala. Over on his personal blog, Johnson has put up a post that walks right through the story of how Apple picked up Lala, from the reasoning behind the buy to how the purchase was actually negotiated. The whole process sounds very exciting -- Nguyen's company (which had nailed down a lot of search results but was flagging in profitability at that point) got a buyout offer from Nokia that even Nguyen wasn't impressed with. But he successfully sold that offer up the line to Google, and then got Apple interested, essentially pitting Apple and Google against each other for this little company that threatened to be the musical lynchpin of either service.
Finally, Nguyen sat down with Steve Jobs and other Apple higher-ups, Jobs passed a number across the table, and Nguyen nodded -- and that was it. The company sold for $80 million with about that much more in bonuses for the remaining employees.
And as Johnson points out, a lot of those employees then went on to work with Nguyen again at Color, and Apple bought them again. At a price, Johnson says, that was so nice (given these employees' talent and experience) it was worth it twice anyway. That's how you do business like Apple: Pay for what you need whatever it costs, and be glad you're building the best company around.
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