MWC 2011: Twitter CEO plays down takeover rumours

The microblogging service's chief executive has dismissed Google takeover reports as pure rumour and detailed just how popular Twitter is on mobile devices.

Twitter bird

Talk of Google acquiring Twitter for $10 billion (6.2 billion) is nonsense, according to the company's chief executive.

Dick Costolo used his keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress 2011 event in Barcelona this week to dismiss takeover reports as rumour. He also said that the company's aim was to create value for users as it results in value in return.

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"Twitter needs to be super-simple and it needs to be always present, it needs to be like water in my home. Instantly useful. Always present, I don't need to relearn how to use it in the shower after using it in the kitchen," Costolo was reported as saying in a live blog of his keynote featured in the Guardian.

Showing just how much users like to keep abreast of Twitter updates while on the move, Costolo said that around 40 per cent of tweets now came from mobile devices. Furthermore, more than half of active Twitter account holders use the service on multiple platforms.

Given this increasing shift from desktop to mobile, there's a need for greater integration, according to Costolo.

"We want deep smartphone integration and stronger text messaging integration," he said. "It has to just work the same way everywhere it is used."

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The chief executive also talked about how the company will make money going forward, hinting at the release of more products later this year.

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Analysts were impressed with some of Costolo's keynote, but felt it lacked more detail in some key areas.

"Twitter quoted figures on healthy growth and use, which is good but not surprising. What it didn't provide was concrete details on was how effective its nascent businesses are proving to be in driving revenues - lots of case studies of cool brands using Twitter but no hard line on the margins this brings to Twitter," said Eden Zoller, a principal analyst at Ovum.

"Partnerships were mooted - cue Google and Facebook, but Twitter once again demurred. In our view partnerships that go beyond integration deals would be a good move for the company's future prospects, which are growing in terms of numbers but not much else."

Zoller added: "We expected more, for example what Twitter is doing to build its application ecosystem given the importance of apps in adding value to the service and the fact that a growing number of Twitter users interact with the service via apps. We also hoped Twitter would show that it intends to leverage mobile location better than it is, and likewise search."

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