Apple Squared?

by Christopher Paul on April 30, 2012

Mor Naaman writing for GigaOm arguing that Apple stands to benefit greatly with a Square and Foursquare acquisition:

“Apple will immediately become a giant payments company, with an installation base that is expected to encompass half of all mobile devices sold. The company will have the best local search abilities, far exceeding any existing recommendation engine. And due to its enormous reach, it will possess a payment system that merchants will line up to support. Who’s betting against this holy trinity? Not me.”

I certainly agree that a Square acquisition would help secure a valuable segment for Apple. I never really thought of Foursquare as another potential property compared to the other companies I thought Apple could gobble up in a buying spree. But I’m not sold on the acquisition and I think Yelp might be a better choice.

Yelp is mostly known for reviews but it does have a location sharing feature like Foursquare. But unlike Foursquare, the checking in that’s done on Yelp is exclusively for merchants and restaurants where transactions (which Square could handle) are made. Foursquare allows you to check in to events and random happenings like Snowpocolypse or New Years 2012 or 4Sq Day. You can’t buy anything at those locations.

Since Foursquare is a larger location based social network, it might seem like it’s the better choice. But because Yelp is already aligned with selling things, I wonder if it’s a better choice for Apple. Of course, Apple/Foursquare could better integrate their offerings with merchants if it included Square. But I wonder if they’d be reinventing the wheel to get there.

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