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Michael Arrington created an instantaneous buzz last night, that spiraled across the Internet and throughout the Twittersphere, when he posted to TechCrunch that “Sources: Google in Late-Stage Talks to Buy Twitter.” As both Kara Swisher and Reuters note, Arrington and TechCrunch, have had a somewhat rocky rode in breaking so-called “rumors.” So there was little surprise in most Silicon Valley circles when he backed off and changed his headline to “Sources: Google in Talks to Acquire Twitter (Updated),” a short time later. In which, he highlighted that he still had two sources on record noting there were late stage talks in progress and one source who was framing the negotiations as “early stage.”
Kara, over at All Things Digital, quickly debunked Arrington’s rumor, as she does with most of his rumors, quoting two sources close to Twitter and Google as saying:
- “There was a discussion with [Google executive Marissa Mayer’s] group about real-time search and about product stuff. It was a couple weeks ago. It was very preliminary…and that was that.”
- “Seriously, no negotiations, no deal, nada.”
She also highlighted that Twitter founder Biz Stone was on the Colbert Report last night detailing Twitter’s desire to be a strong, profitable, independent company (embedded above).
While Arrington’s rumors, may be just that – only rumors – they come at an interesting time when Twitter is expanding its search and user interface functionality, with help from former Google design leader Douglas Bowman.
Rob Hof at BusinessWeek points out that Google is very intrigued by Twitter and the folks at Google he’s spoken with admit that they’re following the micro-blogging service very closely. However, he sees $250 million as a price tag far too high in the current economy for a company that has no revenue making plans to date.
Robert Scoble thinks Hof is wrong, pointing out that the price tag is actually low. Given what Hoff’s colleague Spencer Ante detailed in a recent piece on Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire Twitter for $500 million (albeit mostly in Facebook stock), Robert S. may be right.
However, let’s all remember Google’s chief, Eric Schmidt, is still famously on record, comparing Twitter to a poor man’s email service: so the Twitter-envy may not roll all the way to the top.