The New York Times recently said that Apple was considering a multi-million dollar investment in Twitter. The report was then refuted by other publications, including The Wall Street Journal. According to the WSJ, Apple’s investment talks with Twitter were more than a year old. It seemed odd that Apple, a company known for rarely buying (much less investing in) other companies, would pump so much money in a financially-healthy startup like Twitter.
In a new report today, The Wall Street Journal sheds more light on Apple’s relationship with Twitter, highlighting that the two companies have been focusing on how to tie Twitter into Apple’s OS X and iOS platforms. Interestingly, Apple is currently working to add deeper iTunes integration with Twitter.
Apple and Twitter remain tight and continue to talk about future product integrations. They include more deeply melding Twitter and iTunes, according to two people briefed on the matter. Apple is preparing to phase out its own troubled social network for iTunes, called Ping, later this year. iTunes users can currently link their Twitter and Ping accounts together to do things like find people they follow on Twitter on Ping.
Talks about Apple investing “didn’t progress into serious discussions or negotiations,” according to the report.
It is unclear why the earlier investment talks didn’t progress. It would have been an unusual move for Apple, which typically opts to own or build its technology in-house. Twitter has also long been leery of taking strategic investments from suitors like Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. because it hasn’t needed the money and doing so could limit the company’s future opportunities, some of the people familiar with the matter said.
Investing in a company like Twitter would definitely be a first for Apple, and it doesn’t really make sense given the friendly relationship that seems to have formed between Facebook and Apple in recent months. Why choose one over the other when you can have both? Facebook and Twitter integration is present in iOS 6, and Facebook will join Twitter in OS X Mountain Lion this fall.
The most interesting part of the WSJ’s report is that Apple seems to be using Twitter as a way to help phase out Ping in iTunes. You can currently share things on Twitter in iTunes, but who knows what else is planned for the coming months.
Source: The Wall Street Journal.