Apple Should Do Us a Favor and Buy Twitter

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Two points stuck out at me in a Jim Cramer piece last week at TheStreet where he compared Facebook (FB) to Twitter (TWTR):

... advertisers tell me (Cramer) they like Twitter because they get promoted without ever having to pay Twitter anything and they like Facebook because even though they have to pay Facebook and pay it handily, the results are fantastic.
Facebook spends a huge amount of its time on its conference call talking about the return on investment advertisers crave. Twitter spends a tremendous amount of time on its call defending its existence and the relative metrics it wants you to evaluate it by ...

Advertisers see no need to pay Twitter for results they can achieve for free and Twitter doesn't talk much about results because it's too busy clumsily telling investors what it thinks it is.

It's reassuring to see this coming from an authority such as Jim. Because it lends a considerable bit of support and credibility to the same and similar things I've been saying about Twitter for months (see, e.g., April's What Twitter Needs to Do to Survive).

To follow on Cramer's thoughts -- it's quite straightforward.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in over his head. And he must go. Granted I run some risk making such a strong statement six days ahead of Twitter's Q2 earnings report, but the results, even if positive or plain good, don't change the Twitter reality few people in the tech and financial media are willing to talk about. And they're not willing to talk about it because too many media members carry schoolgirl crushes on Costolo. Their friendships with the CEO obscure their "reporting" and do you a disservice.

As CEO, Dick Costolo barely inherited a company. He more so inherited an idea. Somebody else's idea. An idea that turned into something not even the founders could have imagined. Now Costolo's tasked with turning this big idea into a big business. That's either an impossible task (not all big and great ideas can be successful businesses) or Costolo is not up to the task. I'm not certain about the "either" as there's got to be somebody out there who can make Twitter a viable business, but I'm quite convinced about the "or." If Costolo was the guy for the job he would be able to express a clearer, more reasonable vision for Twitter than than he has. Then he would go out and execute.

That's where Apple (AAPL) comes in.

I've floated the idea that Apple should do for Twitter what it did for Beats Music before. But it deserves further flotation because it makes sense.

As with Beats, it doesn't matter if Twitter never becomes a viable business under the Apple umbrella. Good business or not, it's still an excellent platform that deserves to exist. Not only does it deserve to exist for the benefit of you and me, but it can add utility and dynamism to Apple's ecosystem. (Imagine the integration of Twitter with iMessage or something of the sort). Apple can absorb Twitter's losses with ease and experience no impact whatsoever on its income statement. Just like Beats Music.

The energy Costolo exerts endearing himself to his jock-sniffing pals in the media and talking a hollow game could be better spent finding a buyer. If Apple isn't willing to answer Twitter's humble calls for a bailout, there's certainly another tech/media behemoth or three more than willing to listen. Selling out gives Costolo the chance to provide a return to shareholders who haven't already cashed in. That's something he's unlikely to do if he stubbornly stays a course even he has trouble articulating. 

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola writes for TheStreet. He lives in Santa Monica. Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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