Silly rumor of the day: Apple to buy Twitter for $10B
FORTUNE — At 11:07 a.m. Monday, a brief item hit the business newswires:
Apple may buy Twitter for $10B — Forbes
At first I assumed it was some kind of mistake. But no, there it was on Forbes.com: A 980-word piece by Eric Jackson, one of their regular contributors, pitching Apple’s AAPL $10 billion purchase of Twitter as the “next shoe to drop” after Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.
This is how rumors get started.
It wasn’t that long ago that Apple was supposed to be buying Facebook. Or Disney. Or Yahoo. Or Adobe. Or Tivo. Or Netflix. Or Electronic Arts.
That list, published in the New York Times , followed an offhand comment by Steve Jobs about Apple keeping its cash “powder dry” for one or more “strategic opportunities.” See here.
The rumors didn’t make sense then and they don’t now. Facebook and Twitter are not the kind of company Apple buys.
What kind of enterprise does Apple buy? The list below, taken from Wikipedia, is instructive. As the entry succinctly puts it, paraphrasing BusinessWeek‘s Arik Hesseldahl (now at AllThingsD): “Apple’s business philosophy is to acquire small companies that can be easily integrated into existing company projects.”
1997 Next (programming services). Value: $404 million
1997 Power Computing (cloned computers). $100 million
1999 Xemplar Education (software). $5 million
1999 Raycer Graphics (graphic chips). $15 million
2000 NetSelector (Internet software). Value: NA
2001 Astarte (DVD authoring software). Value: NA
2001 bluebuzz (Internet service provider). Value: NA
2001 Source Technologies (graphics software). Value: NA
2001 PowerSchool (online info systems services). $62 million
2002 Nothing Real (special effects software). $15 million
2002 Zayante (software). $13 million
2002 Silicon Grail Corp-Chalice (digital effects software). Value: NA
2002 Emagic (music production software). $30 million
2002 Propel Software (software). Value: NA
2005 Fingerworks (gesture recognition). Value: NA
2006 Silicon Color (software). Value: NA
2006 Proximity (software). Value: NA
2008 P.A. Semi (semiconductors). $268 million
2009 Placebase (maps). Value: NA
2009 Lala (music streaming). $17 million
2010 Quattro (mobile advertising). $275 million
2010 Intrinsity (semiconductors). $121 million
2010 Siri (voice-recognition software). $200 million
2010 Poly9 (Web-based mapping). Value: NA
2010 Polar Rose (face recognition). $29 million
2010 IMSense (photography). Value: NA
2011 C3 Technologies (3D Mapping). $267 million
2011 Anobit (Flash memory management). $390 million
2012 Chomp (App search). $50 million
See? Not a Facebook or Yahoo among them. Apple’s largest acquisition was the 1997 purchase of NeXT that brought Steve Jobs back to the company for $404 million — about 1/25th the price Jackson is suggesting Apple pay for Twitter.