FORTUNE -- At 11:07 a.m. Monday, a brief item hit the business newswires:
Apple may buy Twitter for $10B -- Forbes
At first I assumed it was some kind of mistake. But no, there it was on Forbes.com: A 980-word piece by Eric Jackson, one of their regular contributors, pitching Apple's (AAPL) $10 billion purchase of Twitter as the "next shoe to drop" after Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.
This is how rumors get started.
It wasn't that long ago that Apple was supposed to be buying Facebook. Or Disney. Or Yahoo. Or Adobe. Or Tivo. Or Netflix. Or Electronic Arts.
The rumors didn't make sense then and they don't now. Facebook and Twitter are not the kind of company Apple buys.
What kind of enterprise does Apple buy? The list below, taken from Wikipedia, is instructive. As the entry succinctly puts it, paraphrasing BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl (now at AllThingsD): "Apple's business philosophy is to acquire small companies that can be easily integrated into existing company projects."
See? Not a Facebook or Yahoo among them. Apple's largest acquisition was the 1997 purchase of NeXT that brought Steve Jobs back to the company for $404 million -- about 1/25th the price Jackson is suggesting Apple pay for Twitter.
So file this story with the one Forbes ran last week on the significance of Tim Cook's visit to gaming powerhouse Valve -- a visit, we later learned, that never took place.
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