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Summary:

Appcelerator, which helps developers build mobile apps, has been on an acquisition tear in the last year and has added mobile backend provider Cocoafish on Thursday to fill out its offering. The pickup allows Appcelerator to offer a full suite of front-end and backend solutions.

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Appcelerator, which helps developers build native and HTML5 mobile apps, has been on an acquisition tear in the past year and has added mobile backend provider Cocoafish on Thursday to fill out its offering. The pickup, which follows Appcelerator’s purchase of Aptana and Particle Code last year, gives the company a robust cloud infrastructure provider and helps it appeal even more to its 1.6 million developers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cocoafish, founded in 2010 in San Francisco by Michael Goff and Wei Kong, is part of an emerging class of mobile backend providers that includes Stackmob, Parse, Kinvey and others that are helping developers add cloud-based features to their apps. Cocoafish services such as push notifications, social integration, sharing, location and others will be integrated into the Titanium Platform by early in the second quarter. Appcelerator said it will also offer iOS, Android, JavaScript and REST SDKs so that these services can be accessed by all mobile app developers, regardless of what technologies they use, such as Objective-C, Java, PhoneGap, Sencha and HTML5.

Why the acquisition makes sense

Appcelerator’s acquisition of Cocoafish is logical, as it looks to become the go-to resource for developers and companies building cross-platform apps. In its latest developer survey, Appcelerator found that 84 percent of its developers connected to cloud-based services. But almost all of them were manually adding these services themselves. That can double the time it takes to launch an app.

Now Appcelerator can offer a full suite of front-end and backend solutions for developers with Cocoafish integrated into Appcelerator’s Titanium Studio. And by opening iOS, Android, JavaScript and REST SDKs, it means that Appcelerator could also appeal to developers who don’t use its Titanium Platform. That can drum up even more business, though it pits Appcelerator against a number of competitors in the mobile development services market. But it looks like there is still a lot of business to be had. Kinvey did a survey of apps on iOS and Android in September and found that 73 percent didn’t connect to a backend.

Connecting apps to cloud services can still be tough, but it usually provides more engaging features. That is increasingly important for app developers, who need to create more-dynamic apps that keep users involved. User engagement and attention is the name of the game in the mobile app world, in which users are quick to try then discard apps. The purchase of Cocoafish also raises the question of whether we will see more consolidation in this nascent market as potentially other Platform-as-a-Service offerings or other companies look to add mobile support. For Appcelerator, which raised $15 million in November, it is another sign of momentum as it capitalizes on the boom in mobile apps.

Curious about how the backend-as-a-service market fits into the larger mobile market? Take a look at this helpful chart worked up by Kinvey.

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