Microsoft, Google Do Battle for Twitter

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Who will be the first to make a search-advertising deal with Twitter? The prize may be dominance in both the online advertising and social networking worlds.

Google and Microsoft are in an all-out battle to be the first to make a search-advertising deal with Twitter, technology news and opinion site All Things D reported Thursday. Twitter's search potential has been coveted since it acquired third-party search app Summize and integrated it into its own site.

Currently, according to industry statistics, Google dominates the general search market, with Microsoft struggling to move up from third place.

Twitter currently serves no ads, search or otherwise, with the exception of the rare "sponsored" company such as ExecTweets.

Of course, the question of whether Twitter will continue its explosive growth or fizzle out into a once-hyped fad has caused both Microsoft and Google some consternation, sources say. Considering how tight IT budgets are these days, it's certainly prudent that even a huge tech company such as Microsoft or Google would want to ensure they’d get a significant return on investment, analysts say.

Earlier this month, unconfirmed reports swirled that Google would buy Twitter, after purchasing two other short messaging services: Dodgeball, which was eventually shut down, and Jaiku, a once-direct Twitter competitor with a now-uncertain future.

And Google’s normal pattern is to spot trends early and jump on them, such as with the firm’s acquisition of Blogger and YouTube. Twitter CEO Evan Williams already has ties to Google, having sold Blogger to the search giant in February 2003. 

Microsoft, meanwhile, has a $240 million stake in Facebook (yet another suitor angling for Twitter) as well as display ad deals with both Facebook and Digg. What’s really heating up this competition is that when Microsoft made its $240 million investment, Google was widely rumored to be vying for a piece of the social networking site as well.

The king of the social networking world remains Facebook, which welcomed its 200 millionth active member this week. While a remarkable community building achievement, analysts say Facebook remains unprofitable and struggling to find a viable recurring revenue model.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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