The Apple Maps fiasco — requiring an apology from Tim Cook and an endorsement of other mapping apps — is indicative of how important local is to Apple, Google, FourSquare, Yahoo, etc, moving forward, as more and more internet use is mobile.
Local sells mobile.
The WSJ has a nice stat today about how key local is to the rivalry of the big guys as the world moves to mobile:
Opus Research has estimated that mobile ads associated with maps or locations account for about 25% of the roughly $2.5 billion spent on ads in mobile devices in 2012.
Relatedly, if you watch this video of Dennis Crowley discussing FourSquare, he doesn’t seem as insistent about staying independent anymore. A mega-acquisition is quite likely in the near future. My guess is that it will be the biggest recent exit in NYC start-up history.