While it’s nowhere near the dominant force it once was, lately it seems that Yahoo’s determined to claw its way back into relevance. Only a few weeks ago, it was revealed that Yahoo would buy Tumblr—the hip blogging service that all the cool kids love—for $1.1 billion. And it seems as though Yahoo may not stop at Tumblr, either: a post on AllThingsD points to a recent talk in San Francisco from CFO Ken Goldman, who dropped hints that a Foursquare acquisition by Yahoo may make headlines in the near future.
According to the post, Goldman explained that Yahoo’s current merger and acquisitions philosophy is more aggressive under recently hired CEO Marissa Mayer than it has been in the past. “Now when we find something interesting,” said Goldman, “we actually go and address it and acquire it, rather than thinking about it.” He also added that Yahoo is most interested in “localization of the space” as well as finding companies “to help basically accelerate our progress…and continue to see the velocity of products in the mobile space.”
So how does that add up to an impending Foursquare buyout? The post points out that Foursquare just so happens to specialize in just the mobile and localization spaces. More telling, like many popular—but free—web-based services, Foursquare hasn’t quite figured out how to turn its product into profit.
Would an acquisition by Yahoo fix that? Even speculating on that subject may prove to be a wasted effort, at least until we see what happens with the recent Tumblr purchase. In fact, the news of Yahoo’s Tumblr buyout brought flashbacks of Yahoo’s previous acquisitions, like that of then up-and-coming photo-sharing site Flickr back in 2005 for $35 million, not to mention Reddit-precursor Delicious that same year. According to an article on USA Today, shortly after those sites were brought under Yahoo’s umbrella, they soon “slid into irrelevance,” prompting many industry watchers to wonder if the same fate will soon befall Tumblr.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that way back in 2005, Yahoo was a different company. Now that it’s under the leadership of Google veteran Mayer, it stands to reason that her guidance of the company could help restore it to its former glory…or, at the very least, its former status as a contender in the search and content-provider space. And the possibilities for Foursquare as part of Yahoo’s growing list of subsidiaries are pretty impressive.
Just imagine: the combination of search, web-content, photos, blogging, and location check-ins has the potential to allow users to access just about every aspect of the web that’s so interwoven with our lives—to a much larger degree than it was even back in 2005. Foursquare may not be particularly important these days on its own, but combining it with Tumblr could prove to be a force to be reckoned with.