Sorry Apple, Biz Stone says Twitter's not for sale

Making a TV appearance today, Twitter co-founder tries to dispel buyout rumors

Twitter Inc. co-founder Biz Stone said Wednesday the company is not for sale despite reports that Apple Inc. is in late-stage negotiations to buy the microblogging site.

Stone and co-founder Evan Williams were making an appearance on the morning talk show The View when host Barbara Walters asked about the recent flood of rumors that the likes of Apple, Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. all are vying to buy Twitter. Stone said, "No. We are not for sale."

Echoing his previous statements about sale rumors, Stone added that right now, Twitter is focused on developing new features on the Web site and on remaining independent.

Stone's comments come just a day after rumors flared on the blogosphere that Apple was laying down a US$700 million offer for Twitter. This latest round of speculation comes on the heels of last fall's failed bid by Facebook Inc. to scoop up Twitter, which was followed by rumors that had both Google and Microsoft casting an eye toward the micro-blogging site.

Blog site Gawker.com reported on Tuesday that an unnamed source, who reportedly has been recruited for a senior-level position at Apple, said the company is in "serious negotiations" with Twitter. The story noted that Apple is trying to hash out a deal quickly so an announcement could be made on June 8, during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

TechCrunch also reported that a "normally reliable source" said that Apple is in late-stage negotiations to buy Twitter. However, the story also noted that other sources said they have no knowledge of any talks between the two.

Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., said Tuesday that if the rumors about Apple's interest are true, it could make for an interesting combination.

"Apple has the right 'attitude' to run something like Twitter, plus the ability to monetize it with advertising," Olds said. "I can see where Twitter might fit quite nicely into the Apple empire. It would give Apple a strong entry into the social networking market and also a very solid advertising vehicle."

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