Apple May Scoop Up This Struggling Social Network
Amidst all the chatter around Apple's latest launch event, reports have surfaced that Apple is in talks to purchase social-media platform Path. According to a member of Apple's engineering team the acquisition is "almost done, if not signed already, but it’s essentially a done deal,” tech blog Pando reports. Yesterday's Apple event just added fuel to the fire.
While everyone was busy making memes of gaming exec Tommy Krul's stylish purple scarf and talking about the Apple Watch, Path's CEO Dave Morin had a front row seat at yesterday's big keynote, taking selfies with Dr. Dre.
Did not forget about Dre. pic.twitter.com/fWNDpFhfYr— Dave Morin (@davemorin) September 9, 2014
So what is Path and what could Apple want with it? The company was founded in 2010 by Morin, Shawn Fanning and Dustin Mierau. A Path user's network initially consisted of only up to 150 connections, though that was changed this June. However, there is an option to create an "inner circle" of people who are allowed to see private posts. Path sells a number of in-app stickers and image filters, as well as a subscription that gives users an unlimited number of sticker packs and camera filters.
The company’s log line is "quality social networking," highlighting features like being able to see who has viewed your post and Path Emotions, replacing the function of a "like" or "dislike" button with a laugh or a frown.
But despite its emphasis on inclusivity, Path hasn't really caught on in a big way, with a reported 25 million user base, predominantly based in South Asia. (To put it in perspective, Facebook has 1.32 billion monthly active users). Though they have raised $77 million from investors to date, the company laid off 13 employees last year.
So even though Path is struggling, Apple may see a silver lining. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company hasn't made much of a dent in social networking either. A social app attached to iTunes called Ping, which enabled people to share playlists and the music they were listening to with their friends, fizzled out in 2012 after two years on the market.
So, Apple may be looking to Path to incorporate a social component into its iMessage app to help compete with Facebook and Snapchat. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Apple is familiar with Morin, as he worked for Apple's product and marketing department and then spent three and a half years at Facebook before launching Path.
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.