Why Apple Will Never Buy Twitter

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are a lot of people in the financial press and on Wall Street who think they know how to run a company despite never having one run before. A case in point is Apple (AAPL). For years, people have urged Apple to do something with its enormous cash hoard, perhaps even buy Twitter (TWTR).

That will never happen, however, and I can assure you of that. The reason is an email from a top-level Apple executive.

As the Samsung and Apple patent trial continues to play out, Samsung's lawyers unearthed an email from Phil Schiller, Apple vice president of marketing, who said that he would never pay for social media monitoring tools. "I think paying money for social media tracking tools is nuts," Schiller wrote in the email, which came courtesy of Hubspot. "It is easy to track social media, I do it every day, there are lots of summary feeds, groups and notification tools built right in to the social networking sites, all free."

Twitter is the ultimate social media monitoring tool, and people have suggested that Apple should buy it. But it's already sort of done that, just for a lot less than the $30 billion or so it would take to buy Twitter, now that it's a publicly traded company.

In late 2013, Apple bought Topsy for the reported price of around $200 million, though Apple didn't confirm the price. What does Topsy do, you ask? Why it's a social-media analytics firm, of course. Precisely the thing Schiller said he would never pay for!

On the company's Web site, Topsy said users can figure out trends by looking at certain metrics. "Use precise metrics to model current trends against competitors or past events," Topsy wrote. "Design and optimize actions, or predict future outcomes."

Though it's not immediately clear how Topsy will be employed by Apple, a couple use cases could be Apple's App Store to continue refining search, or for iTunes Radio to help target songs and artists people want to hear. Either way, Apple is listening to social media, whether you want to believe it or not.

So for all the "intelligent" people saying Apple should buy this or buy that, perhaps by doing a little research they will realize that Apple probably has that figured out better than you do.

Why buy the cow (Twitter) when you can get the milk (Topsy) for next to nothing?

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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