Here’s a belated though interesting bit of news. I wanted to post this item a few weeks ago but life got in the way. I am posting it today because I still think it is newsworthy.
On March 27, I moderated a panel at the Stanford Global Technology Symposium. On the panel were top finance executives from three of the tech industry’s biggest and most acquisitive companies: David Lawee, Vice President of Corporate Development, Google; Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft; and Claudia Fan Munce, Vice President Corporate Strategy, IBM & Managing Director, IBM Ventures.
As the moderator of the panel, I was very interested in hearing Lawee’s thoughts on Twitter, particularly after Google CEO Eric Scmidt had recently dissed the company as a “poor man’s email system.” Any time a CEO disses a company in public I take it as a sign that that the exec sees said company as a threat.
As vice president of corporate development, Lawee is responsible for all of the Google’s acquisitions and investments. So I asked if Google would consider buying Twitter. Here’s what he said:
“I think Twitter is an awesome business,” said Lawee. “It is exciting to see that in this downturn there is a company with such breakaway product success. I can’t talk about a specific acquisition of course. There are a lot of companies who look at what Google is doing, and say it’s an interesting business to me, if there is a way for us to get into it. And I think there is a lot of room for innovation once they are in. Twitter is a great example of potentially either of those.”
My takeaway on this comment is that Google respects Twitter, and has clearly been thinking about the company and what it means to Google. Whether or not they have had talks about a potential deal, I don’t know.
But Twitter is clearly a growing presence on Google’s radar. At Google’s Searchology event today, Google executive Marissa Mayer said that real-time search, or finding the most recent information, was the hardest unsolved problem in search.
Makes you wonder even more about what’s going on behind the scenes.