Twitter and Microsoft: What’s the deal?

twitter-bird2A post at All Things D yesterday revealed that, after Twitter and Google parted ways (at least temporarily) recently, things maybe aren’t going so well in negotiations to renew the relationship between Twitter and Bing.

Bing, like Google, signed a “firehose” deal with Twitter in the fall of 2009, apparently allowing unlimited real time access to Twitter’s stream.  Bing’s deal was for 6 months longer than Google’s, who walked away from a renewal rather than pay a reported $30 million a year, and agreeing to Twitter’s other demands: “(m)ore user interface control, a larger cut of ads sold next to its tweets and more linking back to Twitter”, according to the All Things D post.

Now Bing, too, is in some tough negotiations with Twitter.  From the All Things D post:

Several sources said that the pair is still far apart on a number of issues, including the price and term of the data licensing, the way the tweets and advertising linked to it will be presented on Bing, the cut of that advertising and even how much traffic Bing pushes back to Twitter.

LiveSide readers and Windows Live users will remember a similar set of circumstances around Twitter in the Windows Live Activity stream, where it was available initially before being discontinued back in June 2010.  An email from Windows Live explained:

Dear Windows Live Customer,

Thank you for connecting your social networks and other services with Windows Live. We are contacting you because you have added your Twitter feed to Windows Live and we want to notify you of an upcoming change.

Beginning June 30, 2010 your tweets will no longer be automatically imported from Twitter and shared out to your Windows Live Messenger friends due to policy changes made by Twitter. We are working hard with Twitter to make this service available again and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

There are indications that Twitter is making its way back to Windows Live, however, along with an announcement at the Mobile World Congress early this year that Twitter will be integrated into Windows Phone “Mango”.  As damaster reported on July 2:

Today while I was setting up my Windows Phone “Mango” beta and see if I could add my Twitter account to my phone, I was greeted with this dialogue:

To add Twitter on your phone, you’ll need to connect it to your Windows Live account.

This feature currently doesn’t work on Mango beta builds at the moment, and the reason why it doesn’t is simple – it’s not available on Windows Live yet.

Even though Bing, Windows Live, and Windows Phone are in three different divisions within Microsoft, a deal to solidify a unique relationship with Twitter, along with Twitter’s unique situation of having to scramble a bit to recover some of the lost revenue from the failed Google deal, seems to make a lot of sense and beneficial to both parties.  We hope they get it all straightened out soon.