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Square and OpenTable Eye Each Other's Niches

Square and OpenTable began their lives by using technology to solve a specific problem faced by small businesses—offering, respectively, an easier way to accept payments and an easier way to accept reservations. That gave the companies a foot in the door. With initial successes under their belts, both immediately began looking for other targets, a tendency on full display Monday as each moved into the other’s territory.

Square said it would begin offering a new service called Appointments that allows businesses to offer online booking. In a pilot, the company says that most of the 200 companies it surveyed claimed to make more money while saving time, and 108 of them now get 10 percent or more of their appointments per week through Square. Appointments will cost merchants between $30 and $90 a month, depending on their size.