Microsoft a First-Mover With No Advantage in Twitter Deal

Published on October 26, 2009
by John Paczkowski

bing_twitter-150x150Microsoft may have gotten the jump on Google when its Bing search engine became the first to allow users to search Twitter in real time, but that victory is largely an empty one. Because while being first is generating quite a bit of attention for Bing–which is for once leading search innovation instead of following Google’s–that’s about all it’s good for right now.

Why? As research house Jefferies & Co. explains in a research note to clients today, if Twitter hasn’t yet managed to transform its popularity into significant revenue, how will Microsoft (MSFT) or Google (GOOG)?

“While we believe Microsoft pulled off a little bit of a media/PR coup by announcing the Twitter deal and forcing Google to rush into a similar deal, we do not believe Microsoft will be able to capitalize on its first mover advantage in the short run since neither search engines nor Twitter have figured out how to monetize the data streams from Twitters (affectionately known as Tweets),” Jefferies analysts wrote.

“We believe that users focused on real-time data would be less tolerant to advertising,” the research note adds. “That said, we can see new business models emerging down the line where the realtime tweets blended with local information (traffic conditions, flight arrivals, etc.) could be more easily monetized and where ‘premium’ tweets from celebrities could be included for a premium subscription. For now, the real-time data integration would mean more refreshes from the users to get up to the minute updates, which should translate into higher query volume, all else equal.”

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