Twitter Downplays Google Buyout Rumours


Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites have been in a hot cycle of acquisitions and buyouts

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone hinted in a corporate blog posting that his company had indeed been talking to Google about a possible acquisition.

“It should come as no surprise that Twitter engages in discussions with other companies regularly and on a variety of subjects,” Stone said in a 3 April posting on the official Twitter blog. However, he added, “our goal is to build a profitable, independent company and we’re just getting started.”

The blog posting, titled “Sometimes We Talk,” was written in response to rumors that the search engine giant was in negotiations to snatch up the microblogging site, which allows users to post “tweets” of up to 140 characters on their page.

The Google-Twitter acquisition rumors started on 3 April after Michael Arrington on the Website TechCrunch wrote that “two separate people close to the negotiations” had told him that Google was nearing a deal. Twitter had previously declined a 2008 takeover bid by Facebook.

Other sites, including BoomTown, dismissed those rumors.

Such an acquisition would likely provide substantial benefits to Google, if only because it would deny Microsoft and Yahoo the microblogger as an asset.

“Microblogging is becoming an accepted new channel of online communications in addition to e-mail and instant messaging, and it is here to stay,” Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC, said in an 3 April interview with eWEEK. “Does [a Twitter acquisition] make sense for Google? They don’t really need more audience reach than they already have. But they might need to keep that audience reach out of others’ hands.”

In search of profitability, Twitter has undertaken several initiatives, including the introduction of sponsored sites such as the Microsoft-backed ExecTweets, which collects major executives’ “tweets” for a general audience. It also plans on launching paid commercial accounts later in 2009.

Stone also noted that Twitter now has 30 employees in San Francisco and plans on expanding. “By the way,” he added, “we’re hiring talented people if you want to join us.”