Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Here’s Gowalla CEO’s Non-Denial Denial Email to Investors About Facebook Acquisition

Update: Facebook has confirmed it is hiring Gowalla’s core team, while the Gowalla product will be shut down.

Even Gowalla CEO Josh Williams isn’t pretending a deal for Facebook to buy the location-sharing company isn’t happening, as you can read below in an email he sent to his investors.

Both companies declined to comment on a story on Friday and over the weekend. CNN had the scoop about the social networking giant acquiring Gowalla, which I have taken to calling Not-Foursquare.

That’s because — despite its often clever approach and innovation — it never caught up with the leading social location service.

Gowalla, which changed its approach several times, had been for sale for some time, said several sources.

The Austin-based start-up has raised just under $11 million from a range of investors, including Greylock Partners, Shasta Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners and the Founders Fund, along with a batch of well-known angel investors.

But let’s put this one to bed with the email that Williams sent out after the CNN story broke Friday, which was read to me tonight, so I might not have all of it perfectly and it is missing a sentence about I-will-smack-the-leaker):

Subject: Rumors and speculation

CNN just broke the news that Gowalla has been acquired by Facebook. This story was leaked from an unknown souurce.

The ink on the deal is not dry, so our holding pattern is that we do not comment on rumors and speculation. I have another email penned that was ready to send you today, assuming you would get this news before the story was officially released.

But now it is all over Twitter, so you have likely heard. A longer email will be sent soon. Until then, I am so very grateful for what you have done to make Gowalla a success.

The second confirmation email has apparently not yet been sent, but I will try to get it when it is, along with the price.

So, until the official official yes, here’s a video interview I did with Williams in April of 2010 about the location “wars”:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik