This is just my prediction: Apple will eventually take over Twitter and integrate it more into its ecosystem for its Mac and mobile users. So, folks who want dividends, sorry, I hope you don’t get it. I rather have Apple spend its money in this manner.
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, of all the social media properties out there, only Twitter seems to be more open and less about selling user information than the likes of Facebook, My Space (yes, they’re still around), or Google+. The reason is because Twitter users, more than anyone else, are more open with their tweets knowing that what they broadcast is for general consumption.
On Facebook, your updates may be for your friends or a group of friends on a list but Facebook still sell that information to the highest bidder. The same could be said of Twitter but the vast major of Twitter users don’t go turning on the feature only their followers or a subset of their followers to get their update.
And this works better for Apple than others. And should Apple eventually buy Twitter, Apple is likely to integrate its own ad system, iAd, which is on life support at this time after failing to “revolutionize” the mobile ad space. And Twitter’s social network would probably be similar to what Apple would create had it done so from scratch.
And today, we learn that Apple’s upcoming OS X update, Mountain Lion, will gain the same Twitter integration as iOS 5 devices have. And with a Twitter buyout, Apple would instantly gain hundreds of millions of users that it could potentially convert and add to its ecosystem. Apple is likely to sweeten things up by offering iCloud integration, making Twitter the social component of Apple’s cloud strategy.
Right now, the lack of a cohesive social network for Apple’s other social efforts like iTunes (forget about Ping), Game Center, iMessage, and iBooks could be solved with a Twitter buyout. I mention iBooks because a virtual book club is just something that Apple can go next with its ebook effort.
You’re arguing right now that Apple can achieve all this now without buying Twitter. Absolutely. Just without the control that Apple traditionally have. Keep in mind that the disagreement between iTunes data with Facebook has kept Ping from being something that Steve Jobs hope. And Twitter could well become someone else’s takeover target in the future.
After the Twitter buyout, Apple should and will continue to keep Twitter as we know it now the way it is. The only different will be seen by those who use Twitter along with iOS devices or Macs.
I believe the deal between Apple and Twitter in iOS 5 was just a test run for Tim Cook and company. It’s worked out great for both and in the coming year (I’ll allow myself to stretch that into 2013), Apple will make Twitter officially a part of the family.