as the latest big tech shop rumored to be interested in micro-blogging upstart
As usual, conflicting reports seem to validate claims that Twitter's tires are being kicked, but the actual stage of discussions remains foggy. But Apple's presumed late-stage offering price -- $700 million -- stands out. Google's so-called
a month ago was thought to be $500 million.
The blogsphere authority on Web deals -- BoomTown blogger Kara Swisher - says all the major dudes with half a fortune to burn, like
, have people talking to Twitter. But Swisher cautions that
Twitter's rapid growth is the obvious appeal. And its short-burst messages are like triple-caffeinated green tea power shots fueling the busy, attention-deficient modern mobile social networker.
Twitter's real-time search service would
or Microsoft's Live Search efforts.
From Apple's perspective, Twitter is a feature people seek, and with $4.46 billion in cash at the ready, Apple could make it happen without causing many ripples.
"When I first saw that Apple was involved, I immediately wondered why they'd mess around with it," says one Internet analyst. But after a few seconds, the logic of an Apple/Twitter deal became clear, the analyst says.
"Apple knows more about consumer wireless data usage than any other company right now," says the analyst, adding that "Apple wants to embrace the Internet."