Foursquare’s close relationship with Microsoft could soon get a whole lot closer.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is in “advanced talks” to invest in Foursquare, a company that’s seen its share of up and downs over the past year.

For Microsoft — and also Yahoo, which was also recently rumored to be in talks with Foursquare — the interest in the company is the result of a few things. One, of course, is data: Foursquare is sitting on four billion check-ins, thousands of venue listings, and many other valuable tidbits gleaned from its 35 million users.

From VentureBeat
Get faster turnaround on creative, more testing, smarter improvements and better results. Learn how to apply agile marketing to your team at VB’s Agile Marketing Roadshow in SF.

Another component is advertising. Foursquare recently opened up its self-serve ad platform to small businesses, enabling them to advertise their locations directly to Foursquare users. All of that could be a big moneymaker for the company if it plays it right.

And then there’s Foursquare’s venue listings, arguably its bread-and-butter and exactly what Microsoft’s own Bing Maps needs right now. Take a gander at how Bing’s Yelp-powered listings look today. It’s not pretty.


Now, compare that listing to the same one on Foursquare:


Frankly, there’s just no comparison between the two pages, and I suspect that Microsoft knows it.

It’s also worth noting that Foursquare and Microsoft worked pretty closely on Foursquare’s apps for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, so the companies likely have a pretty good relationship by this point.

Also, a bit of a history lesson: Microsoft also invested $240 million in Facebook back in 2007, a move that eventually led to Facebook using Bing to power its web search. A similar deal with Foursquare is, in that sense, pretty logical.

VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.