I generally don’t like this kind of post, but it’s been quite a while since people have been discussing whether Twitter has a prosperous future ahead. Now I have come to think that Apple should buy it in order to make it an exciting product that doesn’t need to please Wall Street investors. I believe there are at least two good reasons for this acquisition to take place.
The first one is that Apple has the resources to build a media team around the social network to both curate content and work along with Apple engineers to create new generation publishing tools. These instruments would help the publishers to reach the users in more effective ways and serve them higher quality content. The team would start by working on improving Apple News (think of all the real time knowledge in the articles that are constantly being shared) and later proceed to creating actual curated sections, such as live results for sports games (a feature now implemented by Facebook and that should have been developed by Twitter long ago). This may be able to deliver news and potentially richer content, for instance Periscope videos, to a huge audience in a deeply integrated manner within Apple operating systems (including via Siri).
The second reason justifying the acquisition would be the need for Apple to access data in order to improve their AI and machine learning algorithms (since essentially all Twitter users share publicly I wouldn’t see this as a privacy violation). Apple would be able to better understand users’ behaviour and interests from what they post and search on Twitter. Even if at a somewhat smaller scale compared to Google and Facebook, Twitter data would have the key advantage of being usually related to recently created or even real time information, thus giving valuable insights including current TV show, film, and music interests (also helping powering the iTunes Store and Apple Music). Moreover, Apple would be in the position to more efficiently improve Siri, Search/Spotlight, and dictation by learning how people communicate in natural contexts.
The ones above are just the two main reasons I have come up with to explain why Apple should buy Twitter, but there are also a few more.
I don’t think Apple needs to own a social network per se (services like iCould Photo Sharing work great already in my opinion), but owning Twitter would for example give them more control on what happens if a user shares an item from the App/iTunes Store or Apple Music. It could give the chance to Apple users with an iTunes or iCloud account to have a more upfront online identity (this should be totally optional and not turned on by default) in the form of their Twitter profile. Additionally, it could also directly connect the account of celebrities to their content on the iTunes Store and Apple Music (who looks at Connect in its current form anyway?). Without having to change the basic principles that make Twitter great, Apple’s focus may turn this social network in a sustainable product without the need of selling ads, especially given that Apple users are among the most likely to pay for premium services. This doesn’t mean Twitter should become a paid product (some advanced features may, though), but it would add value to current and future Apple customers given the possible renewed and deeply integrated nature of the service.
I can see many difficulties to integrate such service in Apple’s scheme of things in a reasonable amount of time and we still don’t know if the concept of a Twitter style social network is here to stay anyway, but I thought that given the plummeting of Twitter’s stock this could be a perfect time for an Apple acquisition. This is certainly something I would like to see happening given that I am passionate user of both Twitter and Apple products, if anything to see whether it could work out given Apple’s ability to bring resources and focus.
However, I would like to hear more thoughts on this from you and why you think this may or may not be a good idea.