Twitter stands to lose a lot of clout -- and money -- if it flubs its social search deal with Microsoft's Bing like it did with Google.
Just a few weeks after Google shut down its tweet-parsing social search function, AllThingsD is reporting that Microsoft also is prepared to cancel its contract between Twitter and Bing, leaving the micro blogging service without its very lucrative nest within traditional search engines.
That's not good news for Twitter.
There are too many powerful competitors on the social Web landscape for Twitter to be making enemies, and if Bing bails on social search and Google decides not to come back, well, social search essentially ceases to exist.
When Google's contract with Twitter expired on July 2, Google didn't bother renewing its relationship with the feathers that allowed Google's Realtime Search to fly. A Google spokesperson said that Realtime Search was killed off so the company could integrate the tech with its hotter-than-Hades social offering, Google+.
But that's only part of the story. Money and control also appear to be an issue.
AllThingsD's reporting indicates that Twitter wants $30 million per year for access to tweets, more control over data licensing, how much traffic Bing sends to Twitter, and the UI presentation of tweets and ads on Bing. It even wants a cut of that advertising revenue.
If Bing decides not to renew with Twitter, it could re-use Google's excuse: Microsoft, for some reason, is building its own social network. (Yes, the Web absolutely positively needs another social network.)
However, reaching a deal with Twitter would give Microsoft a significant advantage in the business of social search. Bing already has a BFFL relationship with Facebook, and with its main search competitor's attention laser-focused on Google+, Bing could become the go-to engine for hunting down tweets and updates.
But there's a question that still remains: who cares?
Does social search have any real value? Has anyone used a search engine other than the one Twitter already has to flick through endless streams of 140-character minutiae?
Or are the Facebook and Twitter add-ins displayed beside your search results just empty and redundant?