Blogs: Apple said to make $700M buyout bid for Twitter

Blogosphere abuzz with speculation that deal could be disclosed at Apple dev conference

If the latest rumors are true, Apple Inc.can join the list as the latest company interested in buying online phenom Twitter Inc..

The blogosphere is abuzz - if not aTwitter - with talk of Apple throwing its hat into the ring with a rumored US$700 million buyout. This all comes on the heels of a failed Facebook bid to scoop up Twitter Inc. last fall, followed by rumors that had both Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. casting an eye toward the micro-blogging site.

Neither Apple or Twitter responded to requests for comment on the reports.

Dan Olds, principle analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group, said that if the rumors about Apple's interest are true, it could make for an interesting combination.

"Apple has the right 'attitude' to run something like Twitter, plus the ability to monetize it with advertising," he added. "I can see where Twitter might fit quite nicely into the Apple empire. It would give Apple a strong entry into the social networking market and also a very solid advertising vehicle."

Blog site Gawker.com reported earlier today that an unnamed source, who reportedly has been recruited for a senior-level position at Apple, says the company is in "serious negotiations" with Twitter. The story noted that Apple is trying to hash out a deal quickly so an announcement could be made on June 8, during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

TechCrunch today also reported that a "normally reliable source" said Apple is in late-stage negotiations with Twitter. However, the story also noted that other sources say they have no knowledge of any talks between the two.

Olds said with all the attention Twitter has been getting, it would be easy for company executives to hold out for a significant sum.

In early March, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone confirmed that Facebook Inc. had looked to buy his company last fall. In an e-mail to Computerworld at the time, Stone said Twitter is looking to remain independent. "We're big fans of [Facebook CEO] Mark [Zuckerberg] and his team, but we feel very strongly that Twitter is just getting started. We're planning on building a strong, independent Twitter Inc.," he said.

Then early last month, rumors began swirling first that Google was in talks to buy Twitter and then the next week the rumor morphed into Google sparring with Microsoft to grab a piece of Twitter's potential search advertising revenue.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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