Microsoft Invests $15M in Foursquare
The software giant licenses the location-based social network's tech to help Windows and Bing users hone their sense of place.Big leadership changes aren't the only things happening at Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash.-based IT giant is also making waves in social media. Foursquare, based in New York City, announced on Feb. 4 that the location-aware app maker has inked a multiyear partnership with Microsoft that grants the software maker access to its crowdsourced technology. According to Foursquare, its expansive "places database" contains more than 60 million entries and 5 billion check-ins. The database is foundational to the company's app, and usage has climbed by over 30 percent with the latest version, boasted the company. As part of the licensing deal, Microsoft invested $15 million in Foursquare, adding to the company's late-2013 Series D round of financing provided by DFJ Growth and Capital Group and valued at $35 million. The new infusion of cash will help the company "continue to build out our product, and, even more excitingly, make sure more people get access to the power of Foursquare," said the company in a statement. Foursquare explained that its database will be used to supplement some of Microsoft's OS, mobile and search offerings. Soon, said the company, "when you use Microsoft devices powered by the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems and products like Bing, places will be enhanced by Foursquare—to provide contextually-aware experiences and the best recommendations of any service in the world."
The move could help bolster Microsoft's mobile device efforts. In September, the company announced plans to acquire the hardware and services unit of Nokia, Microsoft's premier Windows Phone partner, as part of a deal valued at $7.1 billion. The hefty sum includes $2.1 billion in licensing fees related to the Finnish company's patents and mapping technology.