Apple buys Scout FM in a bid to improve its own podcast platform amid competition from Spotify.

Apple recently bought Scout FM, an app that builds smart stations for podcast followers in an attempt to improve its podcast platform amid growing competition from streaming service Spotify. Bloomberg reported the acquisition of the startup by the Cupertino-based tech giant. Scout FM has an app that builds smart stations for podcast followers and listeners, which then brings a similar experience to radio stations.

Scout FM wanted to change the way users use and listen to podcasts. Instead of combing through the more than 500,000 shows in a podcast app, Scout FM's new curated podcast service asks users a couple of questions to determine what you like. It then builds a podcast station customized to the preferences of the user. The app generated many podcast stations covering different topics, which is similar to a radio station though for a podcast experience. Some say this functionality could be the reason why Apple bought Scout FM.

A spokesman for Apple confirmed the acquisition of Scout FM by their company, though he declined to provide more details about the deal. The Bloomberg report, on the other hand, mentioned that Apple acquired Scout FM to improve its own podcast platform as it prepares for a head to head with Spotify.

According to 9to5Mac, Scout FM brings along a different method of approaching the podcast experience. Rather than offer individual and separate podcasts, the app builds smart podcast stations that are based on various topics like technology or sport. With this approach, Apple believes the app could further improve its podcast platform and attract more users.

In addition, Scout FM utilizes artificial intelligence in identifying the preferences of users and also to suggest to these users some relevant new content. Before its removal from the App Store, Scout FM was available for Apple devices and is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and CarPlay. It was not clear exactly how Apple intends to use the technology of Scout FM but with its smart station-building capability, the Cupertino-based tech giant believes it can help shore up support for its own podcast platform.

Apple has added some improvements to its Podcasts platform. Recently, the company included fresh features, as well as the production of original shows. Industry observers say Spotify has also made similar efforts which they say has helped in its growth in terms of popularity and number of users. Many say that the Cupertino tech giant may incorporate Scout FM into Apple's Podcasts app, though others say the resulting features may not be released until next year.