Q&A

Why the App World is Breaking Apart

Facebook has unleashed a horde of standalone applications, including Messenger, Paper and Slingshot. Dropbox rolled out a cloud photo-storage app, called Carousel. Evernote has had some success with a suite of apps that are individually crafted to help people create documents of different kinds. These moves have spurred intense analysis of mobile app strategies.

Amidst this ongoing discussion about the great unbundling, The Information turned to one of the men responsible for these new “app constellations,” Dennis Crowley. Foursquare is in the news for updating its new application and removing the iconic check-in feature from the main application, and we chatted with Mr. Crowley earlier this week about the strategy behind the move and how it compares with what Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others are doing. An edited transcript is below.

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We power over 70,000 apps now. The Foursquare database is the default database that we turn to, with the very top consumers. We’ve been monetizing those relationships. It’s a big part of the Microsoft relationship. [Microsoft invested $15 million in Foursquare in February.] They make an investment and then we’re also monetizing those API transactions.

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