Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Things No One Else Anywhere Will Tell You About The Twitter/Apple Rumor

No doubt, many of you have heard the "Apple interested in buying Twitter" Rumor ...

MacRumors recently reported:

"... Apple may be in late stage negotiations to buy for $700 million. Of course, when the site checked with other sources, they were told they knew nothing of the sort... making this rumor seem very questionable.

Perhaps the biggest reason to doubt this rumor is that there seems to be no clear synergy between Apple and Twitter."

Twitter continues to run on venture capital funding and has yet to find a revenue stream.

It's interesting that it would be reported this way ... there seems to be no clear synergy between Apple and Twitter. I believe "seems to be" is what I'll focus on here.

Twitter is still in the early stages of management and revenue discovery. At the moment, it is surviving mostly off of capital investment.

Kara Swisher at AllThingsDigital titled a piece:

Ignore the Twitter Buyout Rumors

The Mac opinion giants (like John Gruber at Daring Fireball) all linked to her story as proof that ... yeah Apple probably expressed interest in Twitter but only in the same vein as just about everyone else trying to get their name attached to the free press that currently surrounds the social media buzz.

Well here's a scenario ...

Have you heard the rumor that Apple might be developing some sort of "Tablet Mac" that's kind of like a bigger iPhone?

Have you heard the factoid about how many iPod Touches are flying off of the retail shelves? (iPhone sales are huge too!)

Have you heard the rumor and confirmations that Snow Leopard (The next version of Mac OS X) has hints of built in 3G wireless abilities?

Enter the killer application for "TabletMac", iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac Notebooks - free Twitter "Premium" for your first year - $9.99 a year thereafter - all done wirelessly over 3G. Wifi & Connected versions Would be called Twitter "Lite" - but otherwise be the same.

This is already being done to a degree with a device called "The Peek" - you buy an email checking device that resembles a Blackberry - you get 3 months to a year of "service" included in your purchase. The service is "On The Go" wireless email viewing/sending - currently handled by AT&T.

What if Apple could extend Twitter to all of it's devices - particularly a new "Tablet Mac" or "netbook" and all Apple notebooks?

Think of a "Tablet Mac" having the ability to do everything the iPhone and iPod Touch can do - but it's bonus being a free 1 year subscription to Twitter Premium - heck - maybe even 3 years. I'm sure Apple could negotiate this home run with AT&T.

This could be a great way for Apple to one up Amazon's Kindle as well - all of Apple's devices by default would also be able to connect "free" to the Kindle Book Store (FYI: Kindle's wireless is handled by Sprint).

It's my opinion, Apple is not only in serious talks to buy Twitter - I'd call it a done deal. I say that Twitter PR leaked the info to the press to possibly up their asking price - just letting everyone know that "Tech Genius/Deep Pockets Apple" was "interested" - and by "interested" ... I mean signing checks.


Paul Douglas said...

To clarify, is "Twitter Premium" like some kind of 24-hour-Web Whispernet ala the Kindle - excpet that the Kindle's Whispernet is free, supported by book purchases?

I am a lover of children's literature said...

The only value I see in Apple acquiring Twitter is that it could be used to keep Apple's name and logo in the minds of millions of Twitter users and press commentators.

Apple could do that by advertising, including on Twitter itself, it's name and logo on all twitter posts and maybe words such as, Twitter brought to you by Apple, or Twitter an Apple service, etc.

This would help keep Apple's name and logo in the minds of countless millions of users, all of whom are potential users of other Apple services and products.

FYT said...

Paul ...

The Kindle model is essentially $9.99 a book with (as far as I can tell) $1.00 going to Sprint each sale for use of the network.


Twitter is begging for a hardware model ... Seamless cellphone / ubiquitous wireless integration ... Apple is the only company I'm aware of that has the ability to popularize and capitalize on the social media / texting phenomenon in a unique manner with unique technology.

Anonymous said...

At $700m and no ROI, Jobs is not that stupid.

FYT said...

Apparently you can't read ...

Apple would sell Twitter hardware and possibly AT&T Apple would get a kickback from Amazon for eBook purchases.

There would also be those that would "buy in" to the email/twitter premium.

Apple would have a free advertising platform and benefit in multiple ways by being associated with Twitter

Blogdog said...

If I remember right, iTunes was purchased from Cassidy & Greene with no immediate or forseeable ROI.

Anonymous said...

Twitter is incredibly popular and is becoming more so as it gets more mainstream. Witness the Oprah episode where Oprah praised the Twitter experience and so many people tried it that the servers went down.

The comment about iTunes is very significant. Apple has always had a vision for what the people will want even when "the people" don't know that they want it. If Apple comes out with a hardware device that can "tweet" Twitter's usage will spike dramatically.

Who cares if Apple gets ROI on the service anyway? Its not always the service that generates the money; sometimes its the attraction to the feature that increases sales thus producing revenue.

FYT said...

Buzmania ...

Exactly ... Twittering could even become a killer app for the AppleTV.

What I'm getting at is no one is doing this ... but it appears as if Twitter/Facebook wall posts are the future of communication.

This would be killer if it were a free service.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy it, and here's why.

I cannot think of a single "Apple should buy xxx"/"Apple is in talks to buy xxx" rumor that has ever happened. Not a one. Can you think of one?

Further, Apple acquisitions are companies that are largely unknown. Can you think of any high-profile company that Apple has purchased in the past 10 years? I sure can't.

But lastly, and most importantly, is that Apple acquires technology -- not customers. The only reason to buy Twitter is to buy the users, Apple could duplicate the twitter "technology" and integrate the into MobileMe inside of a week. Stick an icon on the homescreen of iPhone OS 3.0 and Apple now has millions of customers for their new, free, twitter-life service, without spending nearly a billion dollars.

FYT said...

I think you are forgetting the example already mentioned here ... Cassidy & Greene ... PA Semiconducter as well ... By your analysis ... it would be very easy to replicate anything in house.

Your analysis fails the litmus test when applied to things like Google and eBay ... Services have been better, cheaper, faster, and with cool names to compete ... But no competitor can replicate Google's base or "name" ... No one seems to be able to be the new eBay ... It's solely and nearly unexplainable all in the name ... Twitter I belive already has the name and cannot be replicated.

The iPod already has the name and cannot be replicated.

Anonymous said...

You completely ignored the "rumor" aspect (that there were public musings about the purchase prior to the purchase) and the "high-profile" aspect (that the purchased companies were widely known). Both "Cassidy & Greene" and "PA Semiconductor" were largely unknown and there were no rumors leading up to the purchase. In fact, just try to name a third Apple acquisition in the past 10 years. You probably can't, because they are NOT widely rumored about and NOT widely known companies.

FYT said...

Cassidy & Greene was a huge Mac company and very widely known for SoundJam and Conflict Catcher.

PA Semi is large and I had heard of them as well.

I've been discussing this with a few people and half of them had never heard of Twitter - it all depends on who you talk to as what is known name.

What about Next? Who had heard of them? Who, but the Apple know it alls or collectors knew of Next? That being said - they had a huge name within Silicon Valley.

I wrote plugins for SoundJam - the rumor ciculated a few months before MacWorld.

Apple has acquired a lot of companies - what about logic to create GarageBand? There's a biggie.

I can name more.

All have been rumored, all are widely known - it depends on your circle.

Again ... let's use your logic ... Boeing acquiring Lockheed Martin ... would that be a widely known company? Lockheed is HUGE ... I doubt 7 out of 100 people in the world has ever heard of them.

Another example ... Most in my state had heard if TMobile until they came here last year.

Anonymous said...

So first off this is the real Anonymous who post rational thought and the other guy is just an impostor.

Moving on, to quote Fake Anonymous:

"Can you think of any high-profile company that Apple has purchased in the past 10 years? I sure can't.
Emagic, makers of Logic were pretty high profile. So were Silicone Grail and Nothing Real. But really, who is counting?

Anonymous said...

Apple bought a pretty obscure company without much in the way of a future not that long ago. It was called NeXT.

roget said...

I hate Twitter with a vengeance and if Apple get involved in this I will burn all my Apple products and go back to the dark side......

FYT said...


If someone said ... What would you rather do stare at the ceiling for 30 minutes or send a tweet to 5 friends ... I'd pick the stare.