Is Apple planning to spend some of its $117 billion cash hoard on an investment in Twitter? The New York Times reports that the two companies have talked in recent months, but that they are not in talks at this time. Apple could potentially invest several hundred million dollars into Twitter, which has already gathered close to $1 billion in funding.
Twitter has plenty of cash and is expected to generate about $300 million in mostly advertising sales this year. CEO Dick Costolo has said that an IPO doesn't occupy his thoughts much. "I just don't worry about that stuff...if you wait until the business and business-results speak for themselves, you can be a public company on your own terms."
An investment in Twitter would be strategic for Apple in the sense of giving the iPad and iPhone maker a closer relationship with the Twitter juggernaut, which has about 140 million active users who generate close to 3 billion tweets per week.
The Times noted that Twitter's chief financial officer, Ali Rowghani, spent nine years at Pixar Animation Studios and had close ties to former Apple CEO and Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs.
Apple so far has not been able to mount its own social network, so working with the dominant services, Facebook and Twitter, is a key strategic initiative. Twitter's integration into Apple's iOS has been a priority for both companies over the last several months.
Costolo shares the same philosophy that underlies Apple's long history of innovation. "We are going to offer simplicity in a world of complexity," Costolo said about Twitter's mission. Twitter is also setting its sights on bringing 2 billion people into its tweet-filled universe. Apple might like to go along for the ride.
Both Apple and Twitter declined to comment on the Times report.
Update, July 28 at 9:15 a.m. PT: In its own report, late Friday night, The Wall Street Journal said the talks between Apple and Twitter took place more than a year ago.