Google has a short message for those wondering whether the search giant will soon buy micro-blogging site Twitter: "unlikely."
That was Google CEO Eric Schmidt's response Friday when queried on the topic during a wide-ranging interview with journalist Charlie Rose. Schmidt said:
I shouldn't talk about specific acquisitions. We're unlikely to buy anything in the short term partly because I think prices are still high. And it's unfortunate I think we're in the middle of a cycle. Google is generating a lot of cash. And so we keep that cash in extremely secure banks.
Rose didn't press Schmidt for more perspective on the micro-blogging site. But earlier in the week during an on-stage chat at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Schmidt called Twitter a "poor man's" e-mail system. "They have aspects of an e-mail system, but they do not have a full offering," he said at the conference.
"Twitter's success is wonderful and it shows you that there are many, many ways to reach and communicate, especially if you are willing to do so publicly," he said that day while touting the success of Google's instant messaging system.
However, Schmidt's comments to Rose about the merger market echo sentiments he expressed during the Morgan Stanley conference: Google will be ready to make a deal when the price is right. "The good news is we have lots of capital," Schmidt said at the conference. "The bad news is we're still trying to get everybody into the model that we really want in terms of M&A. And I think it'll start soon, but it's pretty inactive right now."
Schmidt wasn't asked to describe his ideal model and he didn't volunteer to elaborate.
"Poor man's" e-mail aside, if Schmidt is interested in buying Twitter, does he think he can cut a bargain-basement deal? Twitter has already turned down an offer from Facebook reportedly worth $500 million.
During the rest of his hour-long interview with Rose on Friday, Schmidt discussed Google's origins, how the company arrived at its advertising business model by accident, and his view of future technologies--such as a TV revolution in which Android-powered devices tranform into televisions.
TechCrunch has printed a full transcript of the interview with Rose.