The Twitter service is not a social network. It’s profoundly anti-social, says Joe Wilcox. That’s why it’s important to Microsoft to invest, and break any Google purchase
Microsoft shouldn’t let Twitter go to Google under any circumstances… although that’s not to say Twitter would be a good acquisition for Microsoft , just that Microsoft should not repeat mistakes it made before, with YouTube.
Twitter’s value to Google is search. Value to Microsoft: keeping Google from getting Twitter. The rumours about Google-Twitter acquisition talks are almost certainly false or, at best, about early stages. But even the rumours should be enough for Microsoft to pay whatever it takes to keep Twitter from Google.
Microsoft must learn lessons from YouTube, which the company could have purchased for $500 million about six months before Google paid $1.6 billion. Search is YouTube’s value to Google. In February, Google’s US search share was 63.3 percent, according to ComScore. Microsoft: 8.2 percent. Internet users performed 13.1 billion searches in February, with 8.3 billion going to Google search. But when adding in a massive amount of YouTube searching (and a trickle from other Google sites), the number is 11.25 billion.
Twitter’s growth is simply astounding, which gives it major appeal as an acquisition. According to Nielsen Online, February to February, unique Twitter visitors jumped 1,382 percent. Google can tap into Twitter’s potential through search. Twitter recently added a search feature that is simply voyeuristic.
Silicon Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget also says a Google-Twitter deal makes sense. He encourages Google to offer “$1 billion, cash” for Twitter. It’s an outrageous sum for a company with big growth and no business model. Of course, the same could have been said about YouTube three years ago.
The question: What should Microsoft pay to keep Twitter from Google? A cool billion? I don’t see Twitter as being a good acquisition for Microsoft, other than keeping it from Google. So $1 billion is steep.
Twitter Is Anti-social
Robert Scoble, who is convinced Google would screw up Twitter, blogs:
There’s something even worse awaiting it: if Twitter gets purchased by Microsoft. Or worse, Adobe or Oracle or IBM. Why? These companies understand even less of what’s going on in the social networking space than Google does. At least Google is trying and failing. But Google makes great mobile apps and Google understands how to scale things that need scale. I can also see how Google would integrate Twitter search into its search pages.
Google is trying and failing, Robert, because there is very little social about Twitter’s technology. I’m no fan of Twitter, as a service. It encourages a culture of talking at people, whether or not they want to listen, rather than engaging them. It’s the anti-social network. In a sense, Twitter would fit nicely into the Googlesphere of products. Google’s core business is about math. There’s nothing personal or socially interactive about the mechanics of search.