Are Microsoft and Google hoping to get into Twitter's treasure trove of real-time information? Yes, says Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, citing sources who indicate that the two companies are separately in talks with Twitter about data licensing deals.
This would involve the exchange of several million dollars plus a revenue-share to "compensate Twitter for its huge and potentially valuable trove of real-time and content-sharing information, generated from the data stream of billions of tweets of its 54 million monthly users," Swisher wrote.
What's unclear is whether either deal will actually come to fruition. More concrete is the likelihood that Twitter won't strike any exclusive deals, considering the company is (according to Swisher) "seeking to create a large open platform, which many could plug into, from search engines to marketers to publishers to developers."
Twitter, which justat a valuation somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion, doesn't have a significant revenue stream in place yet. It's slated to launch a later this year, but big search-data deals with the likes of Microsoft and Google could be a significant additional source of cash.
Something that could be complicated for Microsoft, should it choose to pursue this opportunity with Twitter: It, which has been making moves to make its own stash of real-time information--potentially far richer than Twitter's, with 300 million active users posting links, photos, status messages, and what-have-you--more . Facebook has gone a long way from keeping all its content behind a log-in wall, but Twitter still wins in the openness category.
A recent minor product launch from Facebook,, illustrates this by using keywords in status message content to track how "happy" the Facebook population is on a given day.