MobUI, a company founded by former Action Engine employees, has decided to buy the assets of its former employer to create applications and mobile Web experiences on new mobile platforms, such as the iPhone and Android. In August, Action Engine mysteriously laid off its employees and closed its doors, saying it was seeking buyers for its mobile platform, which allowed applications to get ported to multiple platforms, such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Java and Brew. Before Action Engine started having issues, John Burry left the company to start MobUI with the mission to help media companies quickly build apps and mobile experiences on even newer platforms, such as the iPhone. Burry, who is MobUI’s CEO, said his company grew quickly gaining the two customers in the first two weeks. But Burry said they realized they weren’t going to be able to focus on a single platform — that companies who built something for the iPhone would want to expand to other platforms. Burry: “We purchased Action Engine because we had a dependency on it.” That included one of MobUI’s early customers, which was also using Action Engine. MobUI bought Action Engine’s assets on Sept. 15, and hired a core set of engineers in order to keep the platform going.
MobUI raises funding: To fund the company’s beginnings and buy Action Engine, Burry said they raised an undisclosed amount of capital from GlobalNET Mobile Solutions, a wireless application services provider in Latin America, which is also one of MobUI’s first customers. Burry said GobalNET is interested in both companies so it can better expand internationally in the U.S., Asia and Europe. MobUI can be pronounced “Mob-U.I.” or “Mo-BUI.”
Explaining Action Engine’s demise: Action Engine’s sudden closure wasn’t as mysterious as you would think, Burry said. The company, which had a long list of big-name customers, such as *AOL*, The Wall Street Journal.com, MarketWatch.com, MSNBC.com, Sports Illustrated and *TiVo*, believed it had a buyer, so it didn’t pursue others. When the deal didn’t get done fast, it left the company scrambling and looking for other buyers to speed up the process. He said there ended up being significant interest with four companies bidding.
How different than Action Engine: Burry said that MobUI isn’t simply a restart of Action Engine. The previous company was always trying to get media companies to purchase a platform that they could use to port their applications to multiple phones. MobUI will be more flexible, and possible build downloadable apps or mobile Internet experiences, whether it uses the platform or not. Of course, the company will have that flexibility not having invested millions of dollars and nearly 10 years on a platform. Also he said there is going to be more emphasis on speed to market. Instead of spending a long time on development and then revealing the end-product to the customer, they’ll be clued in along the way so things can be more easily tweaked and corrected.