It was one of those classic Jobs moments Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman will never forget. He was in a middle of a conference call with venture capitalists as Steve Jobs called in to offer a word of advice regarding a takeover bid from Google. In hindsight, Jobs wanted Yelp to stay independent as Apple had big plans with iOS 6 Maps and Siri that included Yelp…
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.
Jobs had a hunch and wanted to make sure Yelp wouldn’t accept Google’s offer.
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.
He needn’t worry, though:
“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?’”
The mercurial CEO’s flawless sense of timing couldn’t have been better. Had Yelp sold out to Google, Apple likely wouldn’t have been able to use the popular service to provide Yelp check-ins in iOS 6. The software also supports Yelp stars in Siri restaurant queries and lets you peruse Yelp ratings and reviews in local search.
Siri from the onset has returned Yelp-rated businesses on a number of queries. With iOS 5.1, Yelp was integrated more deeply with Siri, meaning tapping Yelp results in the digital assistant’s interface now takes users straight to the Yelp application.
In addition to Yelp, Apple relies on a number of other data and service providers for both Siri and Maps in iOS 6. It’s part of a broader effort to degooglify iOS by taking control of the lucrative local search business.
Go check out the full profile of Yelps’ co-founder, it’s a worthwhile read.
Makes you wonder who else Jobs called to advise against selling out to Google, no?