CNBC reported today that Google and Salesforce are bidding to buy Twitter. TechCrunch said that its sources have also reported the same and added that Microsoft and Verizon were going in the same direction. They also reported that Microsoft’s interest was partially to drive the price up to keep it out of Salesforce’s hands. Twitter opened up for trade today and its stock price rose by 22% in response to all this news. It’s market cap is currently $13.3 billion.
Salesforce has been busy making acquisitions this year. It has made $4 billion worth of acquisitions in the first six months and even tried to acquire LinkedIn which Microsoft swiped from them for $26.2 billion. Salesforce apparently has about half the money in its market cap to buy Twitter right now, hence Microsoft’s endeavour to drive up prices.
Google’s been trying to get a foothold in the social network business but nothing has worked so far. Google+ is a failure and the recent addition to YouTube called “Community” is too young and still in the beta phase; it’s too early to bet everything on it. Twitter could be Google’s answer. Google, along with Apple and Microsoft, is playing towards the Internet of Things and that will require an enormous amount of data pouring in every minute. Social Networks are goldmines of data, so just what Google needs.
Microsoft’s motivations are mysterious. They’re a company now known just for their buggy and clunky desktop OS that is struggling to reach its goal of running on a billion devices and their barely alive phone business; perhaps the only thing they’ve got going for them is Project Scorpio, the VR addition to Xbox and Microsoft HoloLens. Steve Ballmer had once expressed interest in buying it though.
Verizon was recently in talks to acquire Yahoo! for $4.8 billion. Yet today’s news of Yahoo!’s 500 million hacked accounts by “state” hackers has put a dark cloud over that deal. Verizon might just switch out Yahoo! for Twitter.
Twitter isn’t the most popular social network in the world. It’s not even number 3 or number 4. It’s actually down at number 9. Even if you control for WhatsApp (2) and Facebook Messenger (3) and Instagram (8), which are all owned by Facebook (1), Twitter is still down at number 6. Well, what’s in between? There’s QQ (4), WeChat (5) and QZone (6) which are mostly Chinese centric social networks and don’t have the global penetration the others do. Then there’s Tumblr (7) and that’s it.* Yet all of these networks in between that have more users don’t have the authority and power that Twitter does. You always go “Facebook and Twitter” or maybe “Facebook, Twitter and Instagram” but there’s no mention of these other networks.
Twitter also carries this authority that Facebook doesn’t. Every time a celebrity or a politician makes a public remark, it’s always through a tweet. That’s because Twitter deals principally in words while Facebook has always had the option to post video and pictures.
*=taken from Statista.com