Street Fight Daily: Alibaba Buys 5.6% of Groupon, Apple and Google Struggle for Upper Hand

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

Alibaba Gets New Learning Opportunity with 5.6% Stake in Groupon (Bloomberg)
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba bought 33 million shares (5.6 percent) of Groupon, making it the fourth-largest shareholder in the deals website. Alibaba has also accumulated stakes in online retailer, augmented-reality provider Magic Leap, and car-booking company Lyft. The purchases are part of the Chinese company’s strategy to learn more about the U.S. market as it expands internationally.

Lesson from Yodle’s Acquisition: Scaling SMB Performance Marketing Isn’t So Easy (Street Fight)
Mark Sullivan: While the acquisition is likely welcome news for Yodle’s backers and’s shareholders, the resounding message for SMB performance marketing vendors is one of caution. The real problem facing large performance marketing vendors like Yodle is customer retention.

‘Apple’s Bargaining Power Over Google Is Weaker Than Previously Thought’ (Business Insider)
Apple has done its best to replicate many of Google’s apps in hopes of persuading iPhone users to stop using Google. But good luck trying to do that in the real world. Google’s basic apps are still largely superior to Apple’s, despite Apple’s obvious progress on maps and search.

The Battle for App-Specific Maps (VentureBeat)
We expect and rely on maps for our most common Internet tasks, from basic directions to on-demand transportation to discovering a new restaurant, and the battle is on between the biggest public and private companies in the world to shore up mapping data and geo-savvy engineering talent.

Can Amazon’s Failed Cash Register End Up Saving Square? (Motley Fool)
Amazon’s attempt to offer credit card processing for brick-and-mortar retailers failed, and the closure of Local Register left the stores that did adopt the technology without a solution. To help solve that problem and alleviate the pain it caused, Amazon sent those customers Square readers. Amazon hasn’t saved Square, but it has made it a little easier for the company to survive and maybe thrive.

Why Twitter Keeps Getting Cozier with Google to Improve Its Ad Reach (Digiday)
Google is critical to Twitter because it shows tweets in its search results and helps sell ads when people click through. Twitter has more than 300 million active users, but claims it hits another 500 million people who visit the site and view tweets on outside media every month. The company doesn’t say how many visitors it gets from Google, but Google is clearly an increasingly important part of its business.

Are Platform Businesses Eating the World? (Forbes)
Brook Manville: A new book about platform businesses focuses on a broader pattern of technology-enabled value. Clever software is the core of every platform business, but the book argues that the real juggernaut isn’t the code; it’s the explosively scalable network processes that are disrupting traditional buy-make-sell competition.

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