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.
The reporter who knew Jobs best discovers a trove of forgotten interviews
Rummaging through a storage shed after Steve Jobs' death, Brent Schlender came across a few dozen interview tapes he had made during 25 years of covering Apple's co-founder for the Wall Street Journal and Fortune. Some were as long as three hours. Some had never been transcribed.
Schlender drew heavily on those recordings to produce Fast Company's May cover story MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 18, 2012 5:52 AM ET
We slogged through the 119-page document so you wouldn't have to
In 1991, while Steve Jobs was at NeXT and before he returned to Apple (AAPL), the first President Bush considered him for an appointment on the White House's Export Council, triggering an FBI background check. [Update: The Commerce Department confirmed that Jobs did in fact serve on Bush's Export Council.]
In October 2011, MuckRock's Michael Morisy, a former journalist who has made a business MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 9, 2012 2:36 PM ET
The creator of the answer engine in Siri writes about his long relationship with Jobs
There are a several novel anecdotes about Apple's (AAPL) late CEO in the piece British scientist Stephen Wolfram wrote for Saturday's The Guardian.
While at NeXT, Jobs took great interest in Wolfram's breakthrough algebra-solving computer program and even came up with a name for it: Mathematica
When Wolfram asked Jobs to blurb A New Kind of Science, Wolfram's 2002 book MORE
Fortune contributor Brent Schlender shares some of the stories and personal photographs he collected during more than two decades as Steve Jobs' chronicler and confidant.
FORTUNE -- Most of us who wrote in depth about the brilliant career of Steve Jobs sooner or later came to realize that we were complicit in the making of a modern myth. You simply couldn't avoid it. And while it is true that Jobs was MOREOct 25, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Fortune's Kindle book is a treasure trove of vintage Steve Jobs vignettes
"Contempt" is probably the word that best describes Steve Jobs' attitude toward the press. But he courts the publications he cares about, and over the years one of the magazines he courted most assiduously -- at least until a certain 2008 cover story -- was Fortune.
While at Apple (AAPL), NeXT, Pixar and Apple again, he gave Fortune's writers and editors MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 28, 2011 6:45 AM ET
"Let me describe the world I live in"
Steve Jobs got a lot off his chest in his Q&A session with developers at WWDC 1997 -- the first after he returned to Apple (AAPL) from his years in the desert at NeXT.
We've dipped once before into the 70-minute video (available here) to highlight his remarks about Wall Street and the press. (See The stock will take care of itself.)
But there's lots MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 24, 2011 5:41 AM ET
"There is a bounce to his step that betrays a certain youthful cockiness"
Joe Nocera's lovely op-ed essay in Saturday's New York Times does us all a favor by including a link to a piece Nocera wrote about Steve Jobs for Esquire in 1986.
Jobs had been kicked out of Apple (AAPL), and to help drum up publicity for his new project, NeXT, he invited Nocera -- who would later become Fortune's editorial director MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 27, 2011 9:24 AM ET
One of the architects of Mac OS X -- and a top Steve Jobs lieutenant -- is out
"I've worked with Steve [Jobs] for 22 years and have had an incredible time developing products at both NeXT and Apple, but at this point, I want to focus less on products and more on science."
Spending more time with science, rather than one's family, is not the usual reason given for MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 23, 2011 11:01 AM ET
For its 20th anniversary, the man who invented the World Wide Web sounds a warning
Totalitarian governments. Cable monopolies. Magazine smartphone apps. The walled gardens of giant social networking sites. And Apple's (AAPL) iTunes music store.
These are some of the things Tim Berners-Lee, who launched the World Wide Web in December 1990 -- on one of Steve Jobs' NeXT computers, we might add -- cites as threats to its survival.
The Web, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 19, 2010 11:18 AM ET
|Regulators pave way for Internet "fast lane" with net neutrality rules|
|What stumps Warren Buffett? Minimum wage|
|Analysts offer no apologies for missing Apple's Q2 2014 earnings beat|
|Facebook profit triples on mobile growth|
|Apple shares soar on increased buyback|