I was having a read of this piece by Jemima Kiss over at The Guardian this morning: Facebook and Twitter: We couldn’t agree on a takeover price.
And then TweetyMike popped up in my Tweetdeck with this question on the same subject:
Gets one thinking: how quickly could a new Twitter take off? Was passing on that $100m cash a smart move?
Mike’s referring to the fact that — according to Jemima — Facebook offered $100m in cash and $400m of stock to buy Twitter. But since Facebook stock isn’t public and we… well, you just have to make up the stock price based on jointly agreed principles. So that $500m offer wasn’t really $500m. It was $100m in cash and the rest in funny money. Facebook is either worth $15bn, $3.7bn or, frankly, what an acquirer might pay for it.
So the Twitter chaps passed on that deal.
How wise was this?
It takes a lottaballs and a heck of a lot of good old crystal ball gazing to walk away from those kind of numbers.
Just how defendable is Twitter?
Well, it’s got critical mass. Right?
Or has it? It’s got critical mass with me. But it’s certainly not used by any of my 23 year old brother’s friends. No one gives a stuff about it and a lot of people simply can’t get their heads around it — other than to sign-up to follow Stephen Fry. The same could be said about Facebook — in the beginning, nobody got it. Or did they?
I think the Facebook concept was pretty easy to grasp. Yes we didn’t entirely know what the whole ‘poke’ thing was about. (“Does that mean Poke as in POKE?? Oh”) But signing-up and starting to use it was pretty easy. Witness then, the hundreds of millions of folk on Facebook and the hundreds of thousands on Twitter.
So how defendable is Twitter?
Yes there are lots of applications using the API. Yes there are lots of people already firmly settled in their Twitter accounts.
It wouldn’t be that difficult to swap to a replica Twotter.com instead. Indeed if you replicated the API and offered a ‘click to transfer your friends’ link, it would be really easy for the developer of TweetDeck to knock out a TwotDeck alternative. A one digit change in the API code.
If James Whatley decided to move to Twotter, then a lot of folk would follow. Similarly if we started actively using Twotter and simply pumping out a ‘copy’ to Twitter here at Mobile Industry Review, I’m willing to bet you’d take a look at Twotter as well. And if Stephen Fry decided that Twotter was a better platform with more tools and more ‘stuff’, that would get a lot of attention.
Is Twitter’s defendable point the fact that it’s being used already? Does it have ‘critical mass’? Or will that $100m + $400m of Facebook stock look like a rather good deal when we all mass migrate — literally at a click-of-a-button to Twotter?