Apple has acquired web-app firm Particle as the New York Times, Quartz and other publishing companies have begun designing browser-based apps to circumvent Apple's app store.
The San Francisco-based creative consulting company is backed by actor-singer Justin Timberlake, an investor and funder of its short social video service, Robo.to.
The deal was finalized in September, and some layoffs at Particle followed, CNET reported. No purchase price was disclosed.
Particle specializes in designing HTML5 coding, which allows websites to adapt to whatever device they're viewed on -- from tablet to smartphone to laptop.
Particle's client list includes Google, Motorola, Amazon, Yahoo, Sony and Apple. Apple did not immediately respond to requests from TheWrap for comment.
With the release of the New York Times web app last month, Apple is putting a greater focus on HTML5 in its own products, including iAd advertising and iCloud.com.
"Particle has chosen to focus on this technology so intensely," Particle says on its website, "because we believe it will soon be the rendering engine that powers a new universe of light-weight and embedded applications from set top boxes to game consoles to Chrome OS and Android devices to portable telephony and media devices of all kinds"