Monday, March 25, 2013

No! The End Of Reader Does Not Mean Google Will Buy Twitter

This Motley Fool post, and note that I'm stressing the "fool" part, suggests Google shutting down Reader, which I think is a mistake, is related to a buyout of a pretty big social network.  That company is Twitter.  Fool.

There just is no way this would happen.  I can't imagine Google shelling out anywhere from $20 to $25 billion for Twitter.  According to Fast Company, Twitter is worth about $10 billion today and we can see that get closer to $15 or even $20 billion by the time it goes IPO, whenever that may be.  On top of that valuation, any suitor will have to pay a premium over that to satisfy future Twitter shareholders.  It's an expensive buy.

Furthermore, after the poor execution of the Motorola buyout, I'm not sure the market is ready for this.  And can you imagine the number of defections that'll occur from Twitter if this were to happen.  

This idea is just as bad as if someone suggests that Apple buy Twitter or Facebook or another network.  And one last thing, there have been rumblings of past attempts by tech giants to buy Twitter and failed because Twitter just was not willing to sell out.  Not yet.  

The thing that has made each of these social networks so successful is that they don't owe themselves to one specific platform.  For instance, Twitter is a default social network on Apple's iOS and OS X.  However, Google+ isn't because of the ongoing competition between the two giants.  I'm pretty sure that Apple will cut iOS and OS X should there be a Google takeover.  It would be the same for Microsoft, Blackberry, or anyone else.

And the truth is the same if Apple or Microsoft were to take over Twitter.  I'm sure Google will do more to steer users away from Twitter and towards its own Google+ network or just cut Twitter out entirely.

The bottom line is that the Fool post failed to explain how Google shutting down Reader is an "indication" that a Twitter buyout is even remotely being considered.  If anything, Google might consider a Google+ lite version that essentially duplicates what Twitter already does now - limited characters for quick thoughts or links.  

A more likely scenario here is that Google may add a new feature that duplicate Reader's main RSS function and give users a format similar to readers.

I would not have a problem with the post if it simply say that it's speculation rather than try to suggest the author knows about a link between Google killing off Reader and Twitter.  

Personally, I think any self-respecting social networks should do what Facebook is doing.  As much as I hate Facebook, it's done the right thing so far.  It avoided selling out to avoid conflicts of interest within the mobile platform and has not release its own mobile device to compete with the iPhone or Android devices. It has a prominent place in all of the major mobile platforms - ensuring its main core revenue goal is intact:  making as money as it can off its users.  

And since Twitter has a similar business plan, selling ads, it makes sense to be on as many users' phones as possible.  

One thing is for sure here.  Google getting rid of Reader may have made solidify Twitter as the source of news and other social feeds for its users and it certainly would welcome us hapless Reader users.

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