Steve Jobs Advised Yelp’s CEO To Stay Independent And Not Sell Out To Google

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Back in December 2009, Google made a bid to buy Yelp, the location based review site, for more than half a billion dollars.

The bid obviously failed, following which Yelp went on to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. But the most interesting part of all this is a conversation Apple’s then CEO Steve Jobs had with Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

SFGate, profiling Yelp’s CEO, details the incident:

Jeremy Stoppelman was on a conference call with venture capitalists when an assistant slipped him a note: “Steve Jobs is on the line.”

Stoppelman quietly left the room at Yelp headquarters in downtown San Francisco. It was January 2010, and Google wanted to buy Yelp, the online, crowd-sourced review site.

On the phone, Jobs urged Stoppelman, who revered the Apple chief as a visionary, to “stay independent and not sell out to Google.” Jobs was not a fan of Google and had accused the search giant of stealing Apple’s smart-phone and tablet technology.

“At that point, we had already turned down Google,” Stoppelman said. “But Steve liked Yelp and wanted to make sure about Google. It was a moment where I said, ‘This is crazy. What just happened?’ “

Digging up a bit to see the coverage of the Yelp-Google deal fallout, we found Michael Arrington’s post pretty interesting:

So what made the deal go sideways? We’re working on that. From the information we’ve gathered, there is currently no other suitor seriously looking at the company. For now Yelp intends to stay independent. We’re betting that someone – Apple, Microsoft, etc. – came to Yelp with an offer for a strategic deal that gave Stoppleman the confidence to say no to Google. But who that partner is and what they offered isn’t something we’ve been able to track down.

The post however was written in December, and SFGate says that Steve Jobs made the call in January.

Since then Yelp and Apple have developed quite a close relationship. The service acted as a restaurants data provider for  Siri in iOS 5, and with iOS 6 its role got much more significant as a mapping local data provider.

Yelp is now valued at more than a billion dollars, double of what Google offered the company back in 2010. Google later acquired Zagat, a service very similar to Yelp, which now powers Google+ local, and presumably Google’s other local products.

[via SAI]