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Tuesday, May 05, 2009, 06:40 am PT (09:40 am ET)

Rumors surface of Apple showing interest in acquiring Twitter

A couple of popular tech blogs are reporting Tuesday that Apple may have some interest in acquiring Twitter in an all-cash deal, though neither publication is able to substantiate the rumors or outline a clear-cut strategy that would serve to motivate the iPhone maker into such a deal.

For those unaware, Twitter (AppleInsider Twitter feed) is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that lets users broadcast short messages of up to 140 characters — known as tweets — to other users who subscribe to their feeds, known as followers.

Twitter usage has skyrocket in recent months as celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have adopted the service as means of communicating with their fans. A variety of applications that let users tweet from their iPhones have also helped matters and emerged as some of the App Store's most popular downloads.

It's estimated that there are now approximately 25 million Twitter users worldwide, a figure which has been swelling at a rate of 40 percent each week ever since Oprah announced her plans last month to incorporate the service into her daily routine, says TechCrunch.

The technology blog was one of the publications to report Tuesday that Apple may be talks to acquire Twitter for $700 million in cash, citing "a normally reliable source" as saying that, “Apple is in late stage negotiations to buy Twitter and is hoping to announce it at WWDC in June."

Still, the publication immediately hedged its bets, explaining that it contacted other sources who would presumably be familiar with the matter if it was indeed materializing only to have them express no knowledge of such a situation.

"If these discussions are happening, Twitter is keeping them very quiet indeed," wrote TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, who added that he would have passed on reporting the dubious rumor entirely had it not begun to find its way onto other technology blogs.

Arrington was likely referring to a report that cropped up a few hours earlier over at rival tech blog ValleyWag, which cited a "source who's plugged into the Valley's deal scene and has been recruited by Apple for a senior position" as passing on similar, if not exactly the same, details.

In neither report, however, is there a compelling argument waged as to where an acquisition of Twitter would fit into Apple's strategy, though ValleyWag did give it a shot by claiming the deal would land Apple seasoned engineers in tune with modern Web culture.

Founded in 2006, Twitter has yet to devise a way to profit from its success and continues to run on solely on venture capital. After reportedly turning down a buyout offer from FaceBook north of half a billion, the company in January began pitching a $250 million valuation to venture capitalists in an effort to secure more cash and maintain its course.