Apple discussed investing in social networking giant Twitter with the company in 2011, but those talks were really focused on product integration, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The report clarified earlier reports that suggested Apple was actively pursuing an investment in Twitter, possibly as a social networking play of its own.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Apple was discussing the investment, saying, “Apple, which has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media, has talked with Twitter in recent months about making a strategic investment in it, according to people briefed on the matter.”
The Journal’s report stressed that the talks happened more than a year ago, and that Apple had simply “floated” the idea of an investment when discussing how to better integrate Twitter into Apple’s iOS and OS X. The investment talks never progressed into anything real, but the product integration rolled on, and Twitter is now thoroughly integrated into iOS (starting with iOS 5 in the fall of 2011), and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
Citing unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” the report said that Twitter and Apple were able to quickly come to an agreement on integration, even while Apple’s Facebook talks had stalled.
Apple introduced its own social networking platform, Ping, as part of iTunes in 2010. The service was designed to integrate with Facebook, but Apple didn’t discuss it with the company ahead of time. Facebook didn’t take a shine to that, and demanded terms that Apple was unwilling to meet, and the result was that Facebook pulled Apple’s access to its Facebook app APIs.
Ping launched to great fanfare, but quickly failed to gain traction, and Apple is reportedly planning to kill the service in the near future. In the meanwhile, Apple and Twitter put together their deal and Twitter integration debuted in iOS 5 in the fall of 2011. In June of 2012, Apple announced it was adding Facebook to both of its platform, as well.
To summarize, it would appear that Apple and Twitter did talk about an investment, but it was in passing while the two companies were working together on integrating Twitter into iOS and OS x.