Services & Software

Twitter reportedly mulled acquiring photo app

Microblogging site showed interest in the Camera+ app but never made an official offer for its maker, sources tell Bloomberg.

Despite protestations to the opposite, Twitter was apparently interested in buying a mobile camera app in the wake of Facebook's acquisition of Instagram.

The microblogging site held negotiations with Camera+ developer Tap Tap Tap but never made an official offer, two people with knowledge of the negotiations told Bloomberg. Talks apparently broke down over the issue of the company's farflung employees relocating to San Francisco.

CNET has contacted Twitter for comment, and we will update this report when we learn more.

Like Instagram, Camera+ allows users to browse friends' photos, view popular photos, and upload their own pictures.

Facebook bought Instagram in early April for $1 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly negotiated and closed the deal largely on his own during a three-day whirlwind courtship. Zuckerberg reportedly contacted Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on April 5 after learning that Twitter had made an offer for the photo-sharing app. Facebook's chief executive had pretty much closed the deal when he notified his board of the acquisition three days later.

While 18-month-old Instagram had yet to record any revenue, Zuckerberg was attracted by the mobile photo app's explosive growth in user base. Two days before the two 20-something chief executives started talking, Instagram released an Android version of its app and immediately saw its membership base growing at the rate of 2,000 people a minute.

Zuckerberg may also have been motivated to rush the negotiation process by a desire to keep the app out of Twitter's hands. A VentureBeat report last week contended that Instagram first received an offer and term sheet from Twitter, said to be in the range of "hundreds of millions of dollars."

After news of Facebook's deal broke, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told reporters in Japan yesterday that Twitter had no plans to buy an Instagram competitor to keep up with Facebook. Costolo said it was a "mistake" for companies to react to events in the marketplace by altering their strategy. However, Bloomberg reported that Costolo wasn't directly involved in the Camera+ negotiations.