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Apple Buys Matcha.tv, A Startup That Shut Down Three Months Ago (AAPL)

In May of 2013, little-known startup Matcha.tv shut down without explanation.

Aside from a statement noting that the service was gone and that its users' personal information had been deleted, Matcha did not reveal anything about the company's future.

In most circumstances, consumers would have thought the service had failed and disappeared, as so many startups do each year. But Guy Piekarz, Matcha's chief executive, told TechCrunch that the company was simply heading in a "new direction."

That direction turned out to be a road trip to Cupertino, California.

In continuing its recent shopping spree for startups, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has acquired Matcha. According to VentureBeat, the firm could have sold for as low as $1 million but may have cost $1.5 million.

Related: Apple Just Deleted a Windows Phone App

Based on Piekarz's previous statement, it seems that Apple may have actually purchased the company last spring.

In any case, Matcha brings one thing (and one thing only) to Apple: an online guide for streaming video and pay-TV content.

When it was still up and running, Matcha allowed its users to view the top 200 movies and TV shows on Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Xfinity service, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime (NASDAQ: AMZN), iTunes and other services.

Matcha's tagline was relatively simple: "Find and follow the best movies and TV shows, available online, for you."

Users were encouraged to log-in with Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) or Twitter, though it appears that an original Matcha account could also be started.

Though the service is no longer available, remnants of its existence can be found on Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).

Overall, it does not appear to be a service that could cost a million bucks. With listings for "now available," "hottest [videos]," and "my shows," Matcha looks very similar to the Netflix app that's built into Sony (NASDAQ: NFLX) televisions.

VentureBeat speculated that Apple purchased Matcha to further its unconfirmed plan to revolutionize television. AppleInsider wonders if it may have simply acquired Matcha to add its technology to a future version of Apple TV.

Matcha's last and final tweet may provide a better clue.

"Our next version will be awesome, we hope," @MatchaTV wrote on April 25. "Working on lots of enhancements!"

That message was posted roughly a month before the service was shut down. Perhaps Apple saw the "enhancements" before they went live and decided to take action.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

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