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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Pirq lands Apple deal, California bound

Just when you think the “daily deals” business has crested, along comes Pirq and its celebrity chief executive with a new twist.

Today Pirq is announcing that it’s been chosen to be the exclusive mobile dining deals app for Apple employees in Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Mountain View.

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Chief Executive James Sun said the deal will accelerate the company’s expansion, with Apple’s imprimatur giving Pirq an extra boost.

The Pirq smartphone app will be offered through an Apple employee benefits program run by Pirq’s corporate uncle, Kirkland-based Passport Unlimited.

It’s already opening up doors with other companies and associations, Sun said via e-mail.

“It’s also a lot easier to sign up restaurants when you can say Apple has agreed to offer this dining app to their employees at work. Every restaurant wants Apple-like employees to come dine with them,” he said.

Sun – who gained fame as a finalist on “The Apprentice” – launched the Pirq service in Seattle last September, providing discounts of 20 to 50 percent at participating restaurants.

The Apple deal’s the start of Pirq’s expansion beyond Seattle to California, where it’s now available only to Apple employees. Pirq will expand the service to San Francisco proper by July and open to the general public there by the end of 2012.

I wonder if Pirq will also offer deals at the private, off-site restaurant that Apple is developing just for employees near its Cupertino headquarters, so they can dine and chat without worrying about eavesdroppers or leaving a prototype iPhone 5 on a bar stool.

Apple is among several tech giants working with Passport Unlimited to provide discount programs for employees. Passport Unlimited’s client list includes Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Qualcomm.

Comments | More in | Topics: Apple, Startups

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