Microsoft Is Now Likely Foursquare Buyer

Cortana + FoursquareIn my view it’s only a matter of time before Foursquare is acquired. We’re waiting for the company to launch its redesigned app but I’m skeptical that it will generate significant new momentum. I could be wrong.

I’ve always thought that Yahoo was the likely Foursquare buyer for several reasons. (Google might try to buy the company to keep it away from others but CEO Dennis Crowley probably would fight against a sale to Google.) However a new development suggests to me that Microsoft could well be the ultimate buyer of Foursquare. Indeed, those talks may already be happening.

Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana has started to incorporate Foursquare recommendations. Foursquare will power nearby personalized places recommendations.

Microsoft probably doesn’t have the immediate ability to replace this capability should Foursquare be acquired by Yahoo or Google. Although it might be able to strike a deal with Yahoo if it were the ultimate buyer. But the more that Foursquare is integrated and featured by Cortana the more important the property and its data become.

Thus I think that Microsoft now emerges as a very likely buyer of the company. Earlier it invested $15 million in Foursquare.

It would probably cost between $800 million and $1 billion to acquire Foursquare.

What do you think? Which of the following do you believe or tend to agree with:

  • The new app will return Foursquare to growth and lead to an IPO eventually
  • Foursquare will be bought by Yahoo, Google or Microsoft
  • It will be bought by someone else, perhaps a wild card like eBay or Alibaba

Image credit: Neowin, Reddit

Update: In the comments below, Andrew Shotland thoughtfully injects the name of Samsung into the speculative mix. I agree they’re a viable “other” in this conversation.

They want to build their own differentiated user experience. Now with the effective collapse of Tizen they may look to services like Foursquare to give them an edge as competition in the Android market continues to erode their dominance.

Update 2: Another suggestion is Apple. However my instinct is that Apple probably won’t buy Foursquare. But this list of 5 or so companies that may be interested could mean that Foursquare’s ultimate purchase price would probably be north of $1 billion and perhaps closer to $2 billion.

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5 Responses to “Microsoft Is Now Likely Foursquare Buyer”

  1. Andrew Shotland says at

    I think you may be right, but let me throw one (admittedly long shot) wild card into the ring – Samsung. Samsung is trying to build its own mobile OS. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s building its own mobile mapping service. 4sq would be a nice addition.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    Yes that’s a viable “other.” Certainly they make acquisitions and have an appetite to build their own services to differentiate.

  3. Billy Burle says at

    Seems social media types are abandoning them while us geo-location types are pulling for them. I thought an Apple acquisition made sense since Apple’s throwing a lot of resources at fixing Apple maps

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    Apple is another logical buyer. But my instinct is that Apple won’t be the ultimate purchaser.

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  7. Malcolm Lewis says at

    I just tried the new site. It’s a significant improvement on Yelp, imo, because it learns what I like and makes personalized recommendations, a concept close to my heart. Glad to see someone has made the leap. I will use it because, unlike Yelp (and other local review sites), there’s a personal benefit for posting my likes and dislikes. This would be a great acquisition for Yahoo (as you note) or anyone else that would be prepared to invest aggressively in building a major consumer brand. Just replicate Angie’s List’s marketing budget and you’d have a runaway hit. This has the potential to be the first big consumer personal recommendation engine – which is the next logical generation of local search imo.

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