Report: Apple, foursquare in talks to share local data


Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in preliminary discussions to integrate foursquare local data into its fledgling Maps platform for iOS, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing sources close to the talks, the report states Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue has met with foursquare executives to explore incorporating data from local restaurants, clubs and retailers into Apple Maps, the homegrown mapping platform introduced this fall alongside iOS 6 as a replacement for the preloaded Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps. Foursquare overhauled its user experience earlier this year, de-emphasizing its signature virtual check-in model to focus on personalized recommendations highlighting nearby points of interest; its suggestions are based on the user's check-in history and their friends' foursquare activity, and come complete with consumer reviews and merchant offers.

Rumblings about a possible deal linking Apple and foursquare first surfaced last week after Cue posted two foursquare check-in updates to his long-dormant Twitter account.

Apple Maps has been a public relations disaster: Immediately after the service launched, users identified dozens of inaccuracies including missing roads, misplaced landmarks and mislabeled businesses. With consumer fury mounting, Apple CEO Tim Cook even issued a public apology for the new Maps platform, admitting "We fell short" on meeting customer expectations and suggesting that consumers consider alternative mapping technologies while Apple strives to improve the service. Last week, Google released a native Maps application for iOS, further increasing the pressure on Apple to deliver a viable alternative.

Apple is "putting all of our energy into making [Maps] right," Cook said in a BusinessWeek interview published earlier this month. "We've got a huge plan to make it even better. It will get better and better over time." Cook did not divulge specifics on that plan, nor did he reveal when consumers can expect the overhauled Apple Maps to become commercially available.

An Apple/foursquare partnership would be a major boost to foursquare's fortunes: Late last month, The Wall Street Journal reported the startup is struggling to attract investor interest in the wake of declining growth and discouraging IPO showings from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Groupon.

Potential foursquare investors additionally feel the company is moving to monetize too slowly and have expressed concern that consumer interest in its services is beginning to decline. Foursquare boasts more than 25 million registered users, but only about 8 million access the app on a monthly basis--foursquare Vice President Jon Steinback told the Journal that the company's growth rate is slowing, but he added that it signed up more new users this year than in any other year in its existence. Steinback also said foursquare's efforts to sell targeted coupons are catching on with advertisers and consumers.

Foursquare is expected to bring in about $2 million in revenue this year, well off the pace established by Facebook--which raked in $153 million in ad revenues in its fourth year--and also behind Twitter, which generated $45 million in ads at the same point in its evolution.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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