Twitter and Google: we’re just talking


6 Apr 2009

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In response to rumours that Twitter was in ‘late-stage’ negotiations with Google for an acquisition, co-founder Biz Stone has said in a recent blog post that the firm did engage in discussions with the search giant, but that this is not out of the ordinary, as it also talks with other companies on a regular basis.

What does this mean for the rapidly expanding micro-blogging service? The crucial point made by Stone in his blog post is that the "goal is to build a profitable, independent company".

Can a company be acquired by Google, yet still have the goals of being profitable and independent. Apparently so.

Cast your minds back to 2007 and Google’s acquisition of YouTube for US$1.65bn. In the official press release from Google, it was stated that "YouTube will operate independently to preserve its successful brand and passionate community." Food for thought.

Meanwhile, talking with social-networking companies does not always result in outright acquisition or being turned down. There is always the option of buying a stake in the firm, as Microsoft did with Facebook, paying 1.6pc for US$240m and giving it an estimated value of US$15bn.

Then there is the likely possibility of Twitter going it alone and being profitable through its own revenue streams.

"I believe that if Twitter can hold out and develop a business model of its own (such as embedded ads alongside its real-time search results), then it could become a very powerful resource in its own right, and a truly viable alternative to Google for searching online," said Iarfhlaith Kelly, founder and CEO of web applications firm Webstrong.