Brand Management, Competitive Strategy, Content Marketing, Social Media

Why Microsoft should never ever buy Twitter


After some reading up this morning, it seems like the Twitter debate needs a fresh insight. So here’s why I think the to be created AOL/YAHOO! combination should buy Twitter, and not Apple, Facebook, Google or Microsoft.


One word: Buzz

Let’s deal with the easy candidate first: Google. One word says it all: Buzz. It’s a very bad attempt at supporting social interaction. Brilliant engineers do not make for brilliant social agents. Google does not understand social media, and will therefore never be able to (1) integrate Twitter into their offerings, and (2) innovate it in a way appreciated by real people. Therefore, Google should focus on what they do best: search. Figure out how to page rank social search results, and you’ll be the king of the hill for another 10 years. Disect Rockmelt, copy and improve it. Use the cash to work on improving the algorythms, and to keep the best and brightest engineers in and coming.

A micro blogger is not a friend
The obvious buyer would be Facebook. Facebook has cash, a massive audience, and a great feeling for what social media can mean to real people. Nevertheless, they should not buy Twitter. It couldn’t be integrated into the Facebook platform, simply because Twitter followers are by no means friends, they’re hardly connections, the emotional tie is very different from the connections created on the Facebook. Followers and followees are points of content, opinions, information and referral. A blogger is not a friend, and the same goes for a micro blogger. So Facebook: if you need to buy Twitter, keep it seperated from the platform. It just doesn’t mix – like Skype didn’t really mix with Ebay.

Steve’s One Mighty Blow
Apple? Maybe, but Steve is way too proud to buy Twitter – he wants to launch a Twitter-Facebook killer himself, snatch the social space, and then turn it into a business model and a cash machine – all in one mighty blow of his Jesus-like genius. He has been working on the perfect answer to the social question himself for quite a while now. So let’s see what happens in 2011. Apple won’t buy Twitter.

Microsoft is Russia
And then Microsoft. I think they impressed the market with Bing. They’re taking market share from Google little by little. They were the first movers in social search, by adding blogs and tweets to their search results in a good way. Google is following, probably for the first time in their search history. So, job well done Microsoft. But don’t even think about buying Twitter. Comparing companies to countries, Apple is Italy, Google is Germany, and Facebook is Finland. Microsoft is Russia. They like to tell people what to do, which is the exact opposite of all things social. They can tell pc’s what do, they can even tell businesses what to do (most business people like that, actually), but you can’t dictate people. They just won’t listen, and punish you for even trying. Remember Zune. Stay out of it.

Serve them what they want
Then AOL. They just bought the Huffington Post, and will pick their news items based on trending topics. Bold move, good PR. AOL should merge with YAHOO!, together buy Twitter, and expand on these ideas of listening to people, and serving them the content they seem to be looking for. Either that, or together drop out of business eventually.

So anyway, prediction: in 2011, Google will buy Twitter for $12 billion, and screw it up within a year.

Some sources
2005: Why Ebay is buying Skype?
2007: Facebook and Microsoft Expand Strategic Alliance
2008: How much is Twitter worth to Facebook?
2010: Here’s why Google needs to buy Twitter immediately
2011: Twitter as Tech Bubble Barometer
2011: Twitter Is Having Acquisition Talks With Facebook And Google And Thinks It Can Become A $100 Billion Company
2011: AOL steps up news, ad push with Huffington Post

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One thought on “Why Microsoft should never ever buy Twitter

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