Microsoft Looks to Carve Off a Piece of Foursquare

Microsoft is reportedly interested in investing in Foursquare, a location-based social networking service for mobile devices that lets users "check in" at various places. However, Microsoft isn't the only that's shown interest in an equity stake, as there's at least one other firm that wants a slice of Foursquare's pie.

That company is American Express. Citing "people with knowledge of the discussions," Bloomberg says the two firms have no interest at this point in entering into a joint bid, leaving the two to compete with each other for an investment in the social networking service. Foursquare is also talking with other companies, though Microsoft and American Express appear to be frontrunners at this point.


Microsoft's interest in Foursquare likely stems from a desire to be more active in the mobile space. Mobile is a category Microsoft has struggled to compete in, both with its failed Surface strategy and also with its Windows Phone platform, which is installed on a relatively small number of smartphones compared to iOS and Android.

It's also a relatively safe bet now that Foursquare is starting to make money. Just last month, Foursquare began letting companies send ads to users after they check into a location, and so far those ads are generating three times the revenue the company expected.

"I think we've proven our business model," Foursquare COO Steven Rosenblatt said in an interview with Bloomberg. "Our business model is very clear and it's working, doing what we thought it would do, if not more. It's all well ahead of what we anticipated."