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Gini Dietrich

Apple Should Not Buy Twitter

By: Gini Dietrich | March 26, 2012 | 
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I was just reading a GigaOm article titled, “Should Apple Buy Twitter?

It likely comes as no surprise to you that I’m shocked Twitter is still around. While I love it and spend a good amount of time on it, I have no idea how they’re surviving.

Yes, they were just valued at $9 billion. Yes, they have tons of funding. But a company that hasn’t made a cent in their entire six years? I don’t get it.

Did we not learn our lesson in the dot com bubble? Eyeballs don’t always equate profits.

But now there is speculation Apple could buy the social networking giant with some of their cash reserves (it’s also said they have so much money, they could buy Facebook and Research In Motion). 

But Apple is a computer company. One that has had laser focus since Steve Jobs retook the helm in the 90s. One that knows what they do and doesn’t try to be all things to all people.

So why would they try to be a social network, too?

This all started with Barry Ritholtz who said:

Apple does software and hardware really well; they do the integration between the two outstandingly. But they haven’t really done Social particularly well . . . Twitter automagically makes Apple a defactoplayer in social. Apple’s biggest competitors over the next decade are not HP or Dell or even Microsoft — they are more likely to be Google and Facebook.

I don’t agree. That’s like McDonald’s saying they need to open white tablecloth restaurants. Or Starbucks wanting to get into beer and wine (oh wait).

We’ve seen it time and time again. A company gets big and greedy so they start to go after similar industries, and lose focus on what they do really well. Then they begin to lose profits and, in some cases, cease to exist.

Apple does do hardware and software really well. Let them keep doing that. Let them keep changing our lives by bringing us iPods and iPhones and iPads and iTVs and whatever iOtherThings we haven’t even imagined yet.

Let them create a strategic alliance with Twitter, if it’s so important they go social, and also do the same with Facebook and Pinterest and, heck, even MySpace, if they want to. That way they don’t pigeon hole themselves into one social network, they can focus on what they do best, and they become a social company.

Or…they can invest in Spin Sucks Pro. You know. Just because.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

93 comments
Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

"A company gets big and greedy so they start to go after similar industries, and lose focus on what they do really well. Then they begin to lose profits and, in some cases, cease to exist."

 

Are you sure you're not talking also about FB and Big G? Because this is a definition that applies to all three, and not only them. :)

 

Anyway it's interesting to see all those monopoly-lovers corporations fighting each other. They all want to rule the world.

kasser
kasser

Nice and great post.

 

Thanks & regards.

evasnijders
evasnijders

@mandomando Hombre, no olvides Ping. XD XD XD

SpinSucks
SpinSucks

@swagclubdaily Yep, I agree with Gini too. - Lisa

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

I like what you're saying Gini about contributing what they're good at and allying with and leveraging the influence of all of the networks vs. setting themselves to butt heads directly with all of them in a vehicle that out of all of them has proven to be nothing but a cash suck for all these years.

jeremykeller
jeremykeller

@ryanleecox if apple buys twitter, I'll buy you a steak dinner. #nothappening or at least #shouldneverhappen

ryancox
ryancox

They've got 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,................................................................................................................................000,000,045.18 in cash. Apple has to buy something/one.

ChicagoCabbie
ChicagoCabbie

@ginidietrich Now question is, is that a good idea? well, I think we really don't know.

ChicagoCabbie
ChicagoCabbie

@ginidietrich I think Apple is trying to beat #Google & investing in blooming social media #Twitter is a good use of all the money they've

mikestenger
mikestenger

The misconception a lot of people are having with Twitter being bought by Apple is that because Apple is competing with Google and Google has a social network, Apple wants in on the action. Who's to say that Apple wants their own social network? They're killing it in quite a few areas.

 

As far as Twitter not making a cent, that's not the case. They made $139.5 Million last year. Is it worth $9 Billion based on sales to date? Absolutely not. Is Twitter worth $9 Billion based on the number of users and data they have about those users? Possibly.

arnteriksen
arnteriksen

@ginidietrich Good post, Gini :) And I totally agree with you

daveegauthier
daveegauthier

I agree entirely with this post. While Apple has some eyebrows raised on their entry into the television market, I think it remains within their range dictated by their 'laser focus'. It would be uncharacteristic of the, to acquire Twitter. And ill-advised.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@dc2fla Do you think anyone should buy Twitter? Or should they go at it alone?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@nigelcameron Or invest it in @spinsuckspro :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@meltonthomas And thank you for tweeting it

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

What makes Apple products work is closed loops. Controlled, closed loops.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

Totally agree. I really hope Tim doesn't go all half-cocked and destroy the greatness of Apple by messing around with things they did not create themselves or don't have a strong vision for domination of. This feels like a HUGE distraction. 

hackmanj
hackmanj

I really don't get the battle for eyeballs philosophy at all. I don't know of a single business that succeeded at this (other than a strategic exit and payoff selling off to someone with deep pockets).

 

When Apple tries to rule everything it will be their undoing.

keepupweb
keepupweb

Gini, You should be on their board of directors. Seriously. Your suggestion that Apple should form strategic alliances with Twitter, Facebook etc. would be a smart decision. Buying Twiitter? Why? 

Levi Wardell
Levi Wardell

I think an all-out purchase right now would not make sense and I take comfort in the minds behind the Apple brand as I'm sure they wouldn't make this mistake. That said, I think if there is a way for them to get into the game and position themselves as an ideal candidate for such a purchase.

 

If Apple were to create a software/hardware mix that allowed users to leverage Twitter in a new/easier/faster/simpler way than they are now, that would open the door. If they were able to integrate the concept of micro-blogging into the brainless functions of their hardware, it would begin to make sense. If they were to find a way to tightly intertwine the iphone/pad/pod with tweeting, it would make sense.

 

But right now? Oh hell no.

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TheJackB
TheJackB

I looked at that story and thought that the journalist went for low hanging fruit. We could hear about Google or MS buying it for the same reasons.

 

Hell Yahoo could jump in and make themselves more relevant too. Journalists sometimes reach and this might be...

mattmaldre
mattmaldre

This "buy a company and now you are a player" strategy is a poor one. Look at Yahoo's purchases of Flickr, Delicious, Upcoming, and MyBlogLog.

 

You make a great point that Apple should just make a strategic alliance with Twitter.

HLeichsenring
HLeichsenring

I really see no sense for Apple buying twitter (or Facebook or even Google). Why should they, There is no strategic fit at all.

 

If Apple would like to become more social, it could use every social network in the world without even paying for it.

 

If I would like to drink a glass of milk, I do not have to buy the cow.

 

Kind regards from Germany

 

Hansjörg

bradmarley
bradmarley

In my opinion, acquiring Twitter would be a very un-Apple-like (did I use those hyphens correctly) thing for them to do. They've always focused on doing a few things incredibly well. Buying Twitter would stretch them thin and declare open season from the media, as far as criticism goes. And the company hasn't had to contend with criticism for a very long time.

 

On second thought, it might be fun to watch how they handle it.

 

Buy Twitter!

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

It would be interesting to be on the inside of Apple to better understand where perhaps leadership wants to take the company.  There's no doubt they're thinking many years ahead and I wonder if they have any desire to have more control on the future of social as it relates to hardware.  In other words, will they stake more claim online to carve out the future hardware marketplace. 

mandomando
mandomando

@evasnijders jaJAJAJJAjajaja ... me vas a sacar un lagrima de la risa Eva ..aplausos!!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@arnteriksen It seems silly ... but that's why it's called speculation, I guess

n3rd00
n3rd00

@ginidietrich twitter has such marketing data, who wouldn't want to

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @mattmaldre And Twitter just bought Posterous... It'll be much easier for them to become social with alliances vs. buying one and shutting out the rest.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @HLeichsenring "If Apple would like to become more social, it could use every social network in the world without even paying for it."

 

Exactly! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @bradmarley You did use the hyphens correctly! Are you writing this while wearing your new shades? While it would be fun to watch them deal with the criticism, I'm with you. It spreads them too thin.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @JoelFortner Perhaps...and they're being typical Apple by not telling us anything. It'll be interesting to see where Tim Cook takes the company. But I can't imagine they'd favor Twitter over Facebook in a fight to get social.

evasnijders
evasnijders

@mandomando Confieso que me estaba riendo sola en el bar y la gente me miraba raro. XD XD XD

mikestenger
mikestenger

Google is easily one of Apple's biggest competitors right now. The iPhone alone accounted for over 50% of their revenue last quarter and if you take into account the iPad as well, you're looking at over 70% of their revenue is from iOS devices.

 

Like horses competing with cars is all a matter of opinion. Some people love iOS, some people love Android. Both are doing extremely well.

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

I couldn't imagine that either.  I could see them doing more with social TV, which is a market that in my view that needs some maturation, which will require a major player or two.

mandomando
mandomando

@evasnijders Somos dos. Freak pride! XD

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

Well either I read that and put it into long-term memory or I'm onto something. My bet is on the former.  =) 

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  1. [...] comments. But one of the things we see companies do wrong is trying to be all things to all people (Apple rumored to buy Twitter, Starbucks getting into beer and wine). Once you go public and have projections to meet, you start [...]

  2. [...] comments. But one of the things we see companies do wrong is trying to be all things to all people (Apple rumored to buy Twitter, Starbucks getting into beer and wine). Once you go public and have projections to meet, you start [...]

  3. [...] comments. But one of the things we see companies do wrong is trying to be all things to all people (Apple rumored to buy Twitter, Starbucks getting into beer and wine). Once you go public and have projections to meet, you start [...]

  4. […] comments. But one of the things we see companies do wrong is trying to be all things to all people (Apple rumored to buy Twitter, Starbucks getting into beer and wine). Once you go public and have projections to meet, you start […]

  5. […] comments. But one of the things we see companies do wrong is trying to be all things to all people (Apple rumored to buy Twitter, Starbucks getting into beer and wine). Once you go public and have projections to meet, you start […]