Both Apple and Google have considered making acquisition offers for Square, sources say

“Of all the many high-profile Internet companies, perhaps none has attracted more speculation than Square,” Jason Del Rey reports for Re/code. “And news that the company secured a revolving credit line of about $200 million has only ratcheted up the intrigue. Let’s try for some clarity then, answering some of the outstanding questions about the startup,” Del Rey reports. “The most-asked question, of course, is whether Square is for sale or not. And that answer depends on what you mean by for sale. In the last year, both Apple and Google have considered making acquisition offers for Square, according to industry sources familiar with the situation. (The Information previously reported Google’s consideration.) That makes sense, but it’s still unclear if it was more than a typical business development exercise.”

“A sale to Google would disappoint Dorsey, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking. For one, he was reportedly put off by Google after being involved in acquisition talks between his former company, Twitter, and the search giant. He also believes, sources said, that his company’s design aesthetic and values match up much more closely with Apple than Google,” Del Rey reports. “That’s not surprising when you consider that Square’s hardware chief Jesse Dorogusker worked at Apple for more than eight years. He most recently was a director of engineering for the iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories, according to his LinkedIn profile. Apple has also sold Square products in its stores, most recently the Square Stand. ‘Jack does not want to sell to Google,’ one source said flatly.”

“Square would immediately give Apple built-in distribution at thousands of businesses that use it to manage their payments,” Del Rey reports. “A deal with Apple could mean that Square could stop worrying about getting adoption for Square Wallet. Apple already has hundreds of millions of credit cards on file through its iTunes service and could use those, along with its own digital wallet, Passbook, as the underpinnings of its own mobile-payments offering for consumers.”

Much more in the full article here.

23 Comments

    1. You’re hardly the metric I’ll be using if we need to take a vote.

      If Apple truly needed Square, we’d be reading about its acquisition. A target sighted doesn’t always lead to a pull of the trigger. Sometimes you let the prey to get away.

      Tim Cook knows when to pull the trigger. This news of Apple’s acquisition of 30 baseband engineers from both Broadcom and Qualcomm is where the real story is, not in what could be.

    2. Apple doesn’t need Square. Square is no longer an original concept. How many payers out there have their own little credit card reader attachments to hook up to your iPad or iPhone to take charge cards on demand without the monthly payments of old?

      It’s not like Square is the only one. They were one of the first if not the first but the field has its share of competition of companies that Apple could make an offer if Google Gobbles Square.

    3. Since you seem to be garnering the favors, tell us in your own words why Tim Cook should be fired for not purchasing Square.

      My sense is, you’ve chosen this issue as the benchmark of Tim Cooks judgement? But I seriously doubt you could begin to explain what makes Square such a pivotal product?

      Please explain it to the rest of us.

    4. I’d have thought NFC would have been the real deal breaker for you? Apple chose to support Bluetooth LE instead and I think they made the right choice.

      With their acquisition of Passif a couple of years ago, Apple turned to the development of ambient recharging for Bluetooth LE devices, using the ever-on radio waves that bombard us, all day everyday.

      Every iPhone since iPhone 4 is its own iBeacon device supporting BTLE, so there are potentially 200 million iBeacons deployed around the world. Apple need only tie them together with a real world awareness of our surroundings and charge our phones with ambient radio waves.

      iBeacon and Passport already has the potential to become the premier payment system, but Apple will have to unveil a platform soon if they’re to gain momentum over the other players.

  1. Why not let another company get spread too thin and buckle under its own weight? Magnetic Strip Cards are so $(*&$ing yesterday – Apple is a technology company.

    Google is good at lots of things, but only great at selling your data.

  2. Many of those millions of Apple account holders may become users to process charges for services. Even the neighborhood lawn cutter boy or garage seller would be candidates, if they were aware. Apple has the eamils of all those cutomers to which it can publicise/market.

  3. That’s a lot of money, but in some ways I hope that Apple steps in and makes the purchase (hopefully for much less).

    While I like Apple’s strategy of smaller acquisitions, I don’t like the prospect of Square being bought by Google. All depends if it fits nicely with Apple strategy for mobile payments.

    Also would have liked Apple to buy DropBox (they tried, just maybe not hard enough), Nest and possibly some content to use as proof of concept for a new Apple tv (rights to NFL Sunday Ticket after the contract with Direct TV expires next year).

  4. I’ve used Square Cash in a small way and have considered getting a Square Reader just to use for selling at garage sales and Craigslist. If Google buys it, game over for me. They can’t be trusted with personal data and they’re sure as hell not getting any financial info.

  5. Ridiculous. Apple doesn’t want people to have to buy a square piece of plastic and stick it in their headphone port to buy and sell. Their solution will be built in, and any and every iOS device will be able to automatically buy and sell.

    Dumb speculation.

    1. Wrong. If Apple follows this path they are doomed. As a seller, you don’t ever want to turn away a customer because they only have a credit card and not an e-payment enabled phone. Any payment solution will have to account for credit card use for a very long time.

      1. Wrong. Every place now accepting payments already takes credit cards. So that tech is in place and fine. But if you’re creating the next generation payment system you don’t use plastic cards.

        By the way, critic, in the 21st century post-modern present you don’t just tell people they’re wrong. Yeah, I used the word ironically. To state that says more about you than it could ever say about me. It’s a new world. Learn to communicate with the people here and now.

  6. If Google could actually deploy (or use) this product they’d have bought it already. If Google thought they could eventually monetize Square, they’d buy and sit on them.

    My sense is, Google would be buying a problem in search of a solution.

    They have a hard time monetizing services as it is and to realize a ROI for Square, they’d have to open the platform to Samsung, et. al., to be considered a plausible alternative to Amazon online. Even then, Google is opening to platform to outside vendors who would have access to the backbone.

    Samsung should buy Square, if anyone does, but they’re hemorrhaging money fighting Apple over a self-inflicted problem in desperate need of a quick solution.

  7. Google is all over the places, Google lacks of focusing. Google into Google glasses, driverless car, Robot, health care, Chromecast, travel, etc.

    Now Google (GOOG) is moving deeper into the travel business. No longer will the tech giant be the site where travelers just search for deals — it also wants to be the place where they can plan their trips.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/google-expands-its-travel-offerings–threatening-some-of-its-biggest-advertisers-153854905.html

  8. Two little girl scouts hit me up for cookies. I said ‘no thanks, little scouts’, it’ll go straight to my ass. They held up a square reader and said they were taking donations to send cookies to our troops in afghanistan. It was an ambush. I gave them my card. I’m a little upset with myself for letting them get the upper hand.

    1. You didn’t have to consume the cookies, though. Was the temptation too great? My mother advised me to stay away from them. She insisted they were made with lard.

  9. FYI Square was formally known as Squirrel before its worldwide debut.

    That is until Apple’s Scott Forestall suggested Dorsey change the name over lunch in Apple’s cafeteria in early 2011.

    Squirrel Systems was in fact the default payment system used in the Apple campus cafeteria.

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