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The New York Times caused an uproar in tech circles and social networks Friday night when it posted a story saying that Apple had talked to Twitter “in recent months” about making a strategic investment in the micro-blogging network. The news seemed to be recognition by Apple that it is severely lagging behind in social media and that it needs to step up its game. For Twitter, an investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars could help the company boost its valuation to more than $10 billion.
Don’t hold your breath, the Wall Street Journal seemed to say a few hours later. In what seemed to be at least partly an attempt to diminish its competitor’s scoop, the paper said the discussions took place more than a year ago. (The Times had acknowledged the negotiations were not ongoing). And things have changed so much in the social media landscape that the discussions probably don’t mean much today. Facebook’s less-than-stellar IPO has meant that investors are more reluctant to throw money at social networks.
Over at VentueBeat, Matt Marshall speculates that the discussions took place at a time when Apple was particularly frustrated, and maybe even panicked, about its lack of social presence. It has since patched up its relationship with Facebook a bit and the two companies have even worked together. In short, such a high-profile investment might not give the cash-rich Apple any strategic advantage, and Twitter isn’t exactly running out of cash. Meanwhile, Time’s Harry McCracken writes that while “the odds are still against” such an investment, “these rumors aren’t unthinkable in the way they once might have been.”