Google outbid Facebook for Milk (rumor)

Google reportedly acquired the company Milk, not its technology, but its employees. The price was significantly higher than it could have been because another company was interested: Facebook.

Yesterday, Milk, the startup created by Digg co-founder, shut down Oink, a tool for ranking real-world items. Here's the announcement:

We started Milk Inc. (the company behind Oink) to rapidly build and test out new ideas. Oink was our first test and, in preparing to move onto the next project, we've decided to shut it down to help focus our efforts.

Thank you so much to everyone who joined and contributed to Oink. You have been the heart of Oink. We are extremely grateful for all of your effort finding and rating the best things in the places around you. We've discovered thousands of awesome pizzas, pastas, coffees, teas... and roller coasters, zoo exhibits, paintings, sculptures, vistas... and sodas, salads, sliders, soups... and so much more.

Today, news broke that Google hired Milk was bought by Google, paying Milk employees $1 million to $2 million each, according to AllThingsD. Google did not buy Milk outright, but it reportedly make several hirings from the startup, including Rose himself. They'll probably end up working on Google+, though I'd wager not for very long.

Either Facebook didn't offer enough, or Milk employees wanted to work for Mountain View rather than for Menlo Park. The price of the deal, which was somewhere in the range of $15 million to $30 million, was reportedly driven up through Milk's negotiations with Facebook, according to sources cited by TechCrunch.

You can add this small episode to the growing list of Facebook-Google battles. It may not be as big as when Google outbid Microsoft to buy YouTube, but you can bet this is just one of many bidding wars the two online giants will conduct in the future.

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