UPDATED 16:06 EDT / APRIL 03 2009

Twitter and Google: What Can Be Said that Hasn’t Been Said Already?

image Late last night, Mike Arrington posted an anonymously double-sourced rumor that Google was in late stage talks to buy Twitter. The purchase price was said to be well north of the current quarter billion dollar valuation, and was updated twice with semi-confirmations and non-denials.

More interestingly, Kara Swisher posted at Boomtown this morning a pretty solid refutation, stating flatly that while it “sounds exciting, it isn’t accurate in any way, according to a number of sources BoomTown spoke to close to the situation.”

The story seems to be that they’re in active talks with Google about a partnership for search of the live stream. I obviously have thoughts about Google’s live search strategy I’ve explored previously here, here and here, and I don’t think Twitter fits into the equation in a substantial way, long term.

Our angle: This is the most believable account in the whole media circus that’s risen up out of it. It’s going to be hard to add much to this conversation – the analysis and re-blogging of the news is literally three screen-fulls currently at Techmeme right now.

I spoke to John briefly this afternoon, though, and he’s of the opinion that at this early, pre-revenue stage, any offer that comes to the table will be impossible for Twitter to turn it down.

“Without any monetization, Twitter will be sold,” said John. “Google by contrast in their third year was generating cash. Personally I would hate to see the acquisition happen.”

I can definitely agree with the last sentiment. Many of the recent Web 2.0 sales to Google have ended in heartbreak, or at least very much delayed gratification.  While Twitter has seen a great deal more stability in recent months, Google would undoubtedly look to convert the app over to their App platform, which as we’ve seen with other purchases like Jaiku and GrandCentral, could take ages.

What’s your view? Firstly, how viable is the rumor?  Much is being said about the plausibility of a bidding war arising between Google and Microsoft for the service now, but this has the same feel as the Yahoo-Microsoft talks.  This could be a lot of media circus that ends up in disappointment for those avidly following the story.

More importantly, what would the effect on the service should Google or Microsoft buy them?


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