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Facebook purchases Parse to promote mobile app development

With the buy, the social network unveils a new strategy in mobile: selling backend services to app developers.

facebook parse
Facebook has agreed to purchase Parse, a service that allows developers to build mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and mobile web.

The social network announced Thursday that it picked up the mobile-focused company for an undisclosed sum and said it plans to continue offering Parse's products and services. The deal is reported to be worth $85 million, according to TechCrunch.

"By making Parse a part of Facebook Platform, we want to enable developers to rapidly build apps that span mobile platforms and devices," Doug Purdy, Facebook's director of product management, said. "Parse makes this possible by allowing developers to work with native objects that provide backend services for data storage, notifications, user management, and more. This removes the need to manage servers and a complex infrastructure, so you can simply focus on building great user experiences."

Two-year-old Parse currently powers tens of thousands of mobile apps, including those of top brands, CEO Ilya Sukhar said in a blog post on the sale. Customers include the Food Network, Cisco, and Deloitte. The San Francisco-based company had raised roughly $7 million in funding from Ignition Partners, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Menlo Ventures, and other angel investors.

The buy seems largely motivated by Facebook's continued interest in conquering mobile, an effort that recently culminated in the release of Facebook Home. Parse provides the social network with a new way to go about its mobile-first mission; it offers the company instant access to a pool of mobile developers who might be more motivated to weave Facebook hooks into their applications. Facebook also will, by continuing to sell and manage Parse's backend services, pick up an entirely new revenue stream and become a service provider of a different kind.

Parse offers a free plan for developers with smaller application audiences, but sells a paid service that starts at $199 per month.