Apple buys Dark Sky weather app and leaves Android users in the cold
App creators and Android users alike scramble to find a replacement
In a blog post this week, Dark Sky, a hyperlocal weather app, announced it will join team Apple. As a result, Dark Sky plans to end API access and shut down the Android app. While this news is certainly disappointing for Android users, it gives will help likely help Apple users who can’t stand their native weather app.
The API will be available through the end of 2021, giving companies time to develop their own system or find a new API. As for the Android app, Dark Sky has already removed it from the Play Store and will allow existing users to access the app through until July 1, 2020.
Dark Sky’s decision to drop the Android app will force users to transition to another weather app for their daily forecasts, but the API restrictions pose a problem. Popular Dark Sky alternatives like Carrot rely on Dark Sky’s API, so they must transition to a new one or invest in developing a standalone app.
Known for its minute-by-minute localized weather predictions, Dark Sky has wowed users by providing predictive forecasts based on users' exact locations. By leveraging artificial intelligence and radar data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dark Sky provides customers with real-time weather forecasts and predictions.
Dark Sky is particularly useful for businesses that can’t operate in poor weather, giving them up-to-the-minute forecasts so they can schedule their day around favorable weather.
Though both parties have yet to reveal how much Dark Sky was sold for, the move has many implications. Dark Sky has gained a reputation as the leading weather app over the years, making it a worthy adversary of Apple’s less-than-helpful weather app. This purchase and lockdown could raise new questions about Apple's approach to competition, which has drawn the ire of antitrust regulators and other companies worldwide.
Dark Sky has yet to comment on why it plans to terminate support for its API and drop its Google-affiliated app. It did, however, make a few vague statements.
“The app will no longer be available for download [for Android],” Dark Sky shared in a post on the company’s blog. “Service to existing users and subscribers will continue until July 1, 2020, at which point the app will be shut down. Subscribers who are still active at that time will receive a refund.”
“Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy,” Dark Sky co-founder Adam Grossman also shared in the post. “There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone."