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Flipboard introduces tool enabling users to display product wish lists in digital catalogues

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SAN FRANCISCO - Personal magazine creator Flipboard is expanding into shopping catalogues just in time for the holiday shopping season.

A tool released Monday will allow Flipboard users to display their gift wish lists and highlight their favourite products in a catalogue-like format. The digital catalogues include links so the products can be purchased by anyone browsing through the selections on Flipboard's application for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad, as well as mobile devices running on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.

Several merchants and websites, including Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic and eBay Inc., are distributing Flipboard catalogues.

Flipboard's expansion into electronic commerce comes seven months after the Palo Alto, Calif., startup began to allow people to put together digital magazines on their favourite topics. About 4.5 million different magazines have been created on Flipboard so far, focusing on everything from people's favourite sports teams to eclectic hobbies such as collecting Mason jars.

Many of those magazines include digital ads, providing Flipboard with its main source of revenue. The more than 8,000 publishers who have teamed up with Flipboard also get a cut of the ad revenue.

As a privately held company, Flipboard doesn't disclose its financial results. The company has raised $110 million from venture capitalists, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other investors since Mike McCue and Evan Doll started Flipboard in 2010 to produce digital magazines consisting of material extracted from links shared on Facebook's social network and Twitter's online messaging service. .

Flipboard has accumulated about 90 million users so far, according to McCue. The app's popularity coupled with the pedigrees of its founders has turned Flipboard into of the Silicon Valley's most closely watched startups.

McCue sold his last company, voice-recognition software maker TellMe Networks, to Microsoft Corp. for $800 million in 2007. Doll is a former Apple engineer who helped design the iPhone.

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