Mapquest was once the leading map site in the world; they were bought by Yahoo as part of Yahoo’s decades’ long spree of buying successful companies and running them into the ground — finally, they were sold, along with the rest of Yahoo’s mangled acquisitions, to Verizon.
Verizon has now dumped Mapquest to an ad-tech company called System1 for such a small sum it was “not material enough for Verizon to file paperwork.”
This is part of a string of lowball Verizon selloffs of their Yahoo companies: WordPress parent-company Automattic bought Tumblr in August for “less than $3 million” (actual price undisclosed; Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1b in 2013); in April 2018, Smugmug rescued Flickr from Verizon hell.
The whole ignominious tale is a perfect parable about market concentration and antitrust: Yahoo was allowed to make all these acquisitions because of Reagan-era reforms to antitrust enforcement, and it was a catastrophe for dozens of promising startups (though it certainly transferred a lot of money to Yahoo execs and shareholders). Then Yahoo sold those holdings to Verizon for $4.48b, and Verizon has since written down those assets by $4.45b (that is, more than 99%). They even lost Shingy.
Mapquest claims a (dubious) 38m monthly users. The company blamed its precipitous fall on getting downranked by Google, whose competing Google Maps product claims 154.4m monthly users. Google insists it downranked Mapquest res
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