Last night, Pando reported that Apple is about to acquire Path, according to a single source in Apple's engineering team. We heard second-hand that Path is at least in talks with Apple. The idea that an app currently ranked no. 177 in the social networking category on iOS might end up in Apple's ion-strengthened embrace has left some in the tech community questioning their life choices.
What is the point of trying, if a Snapchat-copying Facebook derivative that followed questionable growth tactics with questionable financing from morally bankrupt Indonesian investors gets to sit in the front row next to Dre? This is not a soft landing, they cried, this is the ground giving way beneath our feet.
Did not forget about Dre. pic.twitter.com/fWNDpFhfYr
— Dave Morin (@davemorin) September 9, 2014
But do not despair, fair founders! There are plenty of reasons why this deal is just business as usual in Silicon Valley and not the end of days.
1. Friends Buying Friends
Acquisitions tend to be chummy affair. For example, Path CEO Dave Morin invested in Hot Potato, a company run by his ski buddy Justin Shaffer, Morin worked for Facebook, Facebook acquired Hot Potato. Karma, another Morin investment, was also acquired by Facebook. And Dave started his career at Apple helping give out iPods on college campuses. See, all in the family.
2. Buying Cool
Apple, which has $150 billion in cash, has been proven itself willing to buy new fans before with the Beats acquisition. But Path is the opposite of cool, you say. That is true, but Morin has proven himself to be a savvy and popular angel investor. In the interest of succession planning, a source told Valleywag, why wouldn't Apple let Morin rest and vest if it meant young CEOs dropping by Cupertino? "He's a good exec, he's just a sub-par product person. He did well at Apple and Facebook because they had good products," added the source.
3. Messaging Mania
Silicon Valley corporations got smoked by Asian messaging apps. People like to communicate with their friends, who knew? Pando says that's part of Apple's renewed interest in social:
According to our source, this is more than just a talent acquisition, or acquihire. The Path product will likely survive the acquisition and be incorporated, in whole or in part, into Apple's newly refreshed Messages app. That doesn't mean that the deal will be priced like some other recent high-profile mobile communication deals, namely Facebook's $19 billion Whatsapp acquisition and rumored $3 billion-plus offers extended to Snapchat by Facebook and Google.
Facebook paid $42 per Whatsapp user, and $33 per Instagram user before that. By comparison, Rakuten bought the far less beloved Viber for just $3 per user.
Apple hasn't fared much better in the social realm historically, having flopped with its Ping social network and having made very little out of its acquisition of the team and IP from failed location-based photo social network, Color.
There, feel better?
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