CNBC reported today that iconic but money-losing social network Twitter is up for sale, with bids from multiple parties including Google, Salesforce and Verizon.
One name we have not heard mention much is Microsoft, and I think we all know the reasons. With Microsoft’s enterprise focus the consumer social network is not a great fit, and with Twitter unable to reach scale it would very much be a case of catching a falling knife – turn around simply due to a change of management is unlikely.
Microsoft is however expected to bid and I think there is a good case that can be made for stodgy Microsoft buying Twitter, and it’s all about Bing.
Twitter and Bing already have a history, with Bing being an early beneficiary of Twitter’s firehose tweet data, and Bing powering Twitter’s translation feature. Bing, which has a low market share worldwide, could make good use of Twitter data as a signal of what’s important right now, and use that to improve their news results. Owning Twitter could also mean that they could be the exclusive search engine for recent tweets, giving them a competitive advantage over Google.
It would also give Bing another outlet for their ad network, and add some scale to their combined venture, which might help twitter towards profitability and help Bing maintain it. Owning Twitter would also finally give Microsoft an active social network, and keep it out of Google’s hands, which may be equally important.
Additionally we could see integration opportunities between Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype.
Twitter may also benefit from Microsoft’s infrastructure expertise and help cut their costs and expand their services due to having Microsoft’s backing. Twitter is also expected to be relatively cheap – certainly cheaper than LinkedIn at around $18 billion.
Of course, as regular Twitter users, our biggest fear would Microsoft may purchase the network and then kill it with neglect. However, the risk of this happening is the same with Google, who have killed their own collection of innovative startups — most notably Nest, and also its Project Ara.
Do our readers think @Microsoft should raise their hand and submit a bid? Let us know below.