Commentary: $44 billion can buy Twitter, but it can’t buy respectability
As Congress debates a financial regulation bill that would force big firms to disclose many of their dealings in order to prevent them from using their market power to fix prices, and Wall Street insiders plot how best to destroy a much-contended presidential candidate, investors like me, who are fans of Twitter, have to conclude that Twitter itself doesn’t represent corporate America’s hopes and plans for the future. When Twitter talks about itself, it speaks about itself. The more Twitter talks about its users, the more it’s a company that is doing nothing more than letting users use Twitter for free, because it doesn’t want to pay for anything. Twitter doesn’t exist because it is a company. So, when Twitter says it wants to be able to pay for its message, that means it wants to be a company, and we know that would be a very expensive thing.
It’s true that Twitter has a lot of money, and as it pays for its product it spends a lot on research and development (R&D), but that doesn’t mean it would be a company. As Twitter grows, it just lets people use its product for free because it doesn’t want to pay Twitter to give them free service.
Twitter is not a company. It is a public brand, and it has no future as a company if it remains a public brand. And, since public companies cannot make profits, they must turn around and make a profit if they are to stay in business. They have to spend money, and they must sell products. The point is, they have to sell something to make a profit. If they can’t sell something, so-called public companies go out of business. And all of the public companies that have gone out of business have been companies that didn’t make products to sell. They didn’t have products to sell because no one was buying them.
But when Twitter says it is a company,