You can't help but think that Twitter is the modern day, social equivalent of a Yahoo train wreck, edging slowly and painfully to insolvency. It has never made a single cent in profit and you'd be forgiven for thinking, by the lack of any serious attempt to advertise to its massive audience, that it was not really too bothered about turning a profit. So a lot has always hinged on the fact that it wasn't either Google or Facebook but its own quirky self, facing subscribers with an insurmountable newsfeed that it neither prioritised nor interspersed with any serious attempt to advertise. But now it seems to be losing its quirky, cool factor too.
Quite how it can claim to be worth $18bn is anyone's guess. I confess to being a dinosaur who would typically look for a multiple of profits to work out a company's worth. However, Twitter does have a lot of eyeballs that are there to be monetised, particularly on mobile. So a sale at some stage is likely. Google has always sucked at social, and so it is no surprise it has been at the top of the potential buyers' list. Facebook is great at monetising social, particularly mobile, and so may decide to dip into petty cash to buy Twitter. Apple is believed to be interested in a better Apple News and spectacularly failed with its own mobile advertising service, so could well believe it could hit both proverbial birds with a single stone.
What's clear, however, is that the talk about Twitter is now moving to who is going to buy it, not whether. Sadly, for those of us who have loved the platform for many years, this is not a spectacular lap of victory but rather a marriage of convenience to save a huge tech platform from one day eventually running out of cash and investor patience.
Ultimately, Twitter has one advantage over Yahoo. It has a massive mobile following that is currently under-monetised, and that is exactly what the aforementioned suitors will likely purchase it for. But for $18bn, I'm not so sure. Twitter isn't quite a train wreck yet, but it has definitely hit ice and looks to have called for assistance now that winter is drawing near and no doubt, another quarterly update will soon bring news that it's still losing money.