Australian co-founder of Chomp is leaving Apple

Madeleine Swain
26 March, 2014
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In 2012, Apple acquired Chomp, an Australian company that designed an app enabling users to search the iOS App Store more intelligently. Chomp’s two co-founders, Ben Keighran (chief executive officer) and Cathy Edwards (chief technical officer) went to work for the Cupertino, California company, with Keighran joining the iTunes marketing team and Edwards becoming a senior iTunes engineer.

The deal made news at the time when it was widely reported that Apple had paid US$50 million for the start-up. It was referenced again more recently when in January this year another Australian was the subject of a similar acquisition by Apple. When John Papandriopolous sold his SnappyCam app to the tech giant for an undisclosed amount, pundits pointed to the earlier deal for an estimate as to how much Papandriopolous was offered.

But today’s news may make the developer want to check he has a Plan B in place. TechCrunch has reported that Cathy Edwards is now leaving Apple, with her last day due to be 11 April.

Writing for TechCrunch, Ingrid Lundgren reveals, “After joining Apple, Edwards has been part of some of the projects most central to Apple’s mobile effort on the software front.”

As head of Search and Measurement, Edwards was, according to her LinkedIn profile, “responsible for search systems across multiple Apple products enjoyed by hundreds of millions of users each day. These include search for the App Store, iTunes and Maps”.

When Apple discontinued Chomp eight months later, Edwards had already been made director Evaluation and Quality, Apple Maps.

Lundgren notes the problems Maps encountered at launch, writing, “She joined that role at a pretty thankless time, if you recall the chaos of Apple Maps-gate.” Nonetheless Edwards has remained in this position since then, “building out an organisation focused on QA automation, statistical quality analysis and analytics within Maps”, again according to her LinkedIn profile.

There are no solid reports as to what Edwards will do next, although TechCrunch understands she’ll be taking some time out to consider her options, with the intention of staying in Silicon Valley. Keighran’s plans are also unconfirmed as yet. His current LinkedIn profile reads simply ‘internet entrepreneur’, current: Chomp Inc, while his Twitter account hasn’t been utilised since his anticipation of the Winter Olympics in February.

TechCrunch concludes by saying the reasons for Edwards’ departure are unclear, but it may simply be a contractual matter, as it is just over two years since Chomp was first acquired by Apple. If not, and the parting of the ways is not so amicable, it may be an indication that there’s not always a fairy-tale happy ending in place when Apple buys your small development company for huge sums of money.

 

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