Google has Google Plus, Microsoft has a stake in Facebook, and Apple has ... Ping? OK, Ping has been mostly a disaster, which is why Apple is on the hunt for a new social network partner and it looks like Twitter might be its best bet, reports the New York Times. Negotiations are not taking place at the moment, but Apple is considering a "strategic investment" of several hundred million dollars into the company, says the Times. That would give Twitter a valuation of more than $10 billion, up from $8.4 billion last year. Twitter currently has about 140 million monthly users.
"Apple doesn’t have to own a social network," said CEO Timothy D. Cook recently. “But does Apple need to be social? Yes." Already Apple is integrating Twitter more tightly into its products, and Twitter has been stepping up its relationship with Apple. Neither Twitter nor Apple are hurting for cash—Twitter reportedly has more than $600 million cash on hand, and Apple has $117 billion in liquid investments—but analysts say the deal would help both companies, giving Apple a much needed online presence and boosting Twitter's value at a time when other online giants like Facebook and Zynga are suffering. Full story here. (Read more Apple stories.)