It was only a matter of time before someone waved a large cheque in front of Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams and Apple appears to have jumped to the head of the queue. Last autumn the social networking site rejected an all-share bid from rival Facebook, valued at $500m (£335m, €375m), but now Apple is said to be offering $700m.

Twitter, on which you post your musings in not more than 140 characters, reckons it has 25 million users although it also has a huge churn rate with many people signing up but then dropping the habit. It's the object of a particularly popular iPhone app which may be one of the attractions for Apple.

Social or user-generated media have the been the internet phenomenon of the past few years and have attracted billions of dollars from established companies keen to access a youthful and hard-to-reach audience (although Twitter's profile is older than Facebook, for example).

But media giants - including News Corporation with its purchase of MySpace and Google with YouTube - have so far struggled to make money from their investments. MySpace has struggled against Facebook while YouTube has been mired in a series of royalty battles with broadcasters, music publishers and artists.

But this is unlikely to concern the hyper-cool Apple, which seems to make money from everything it touches these days. Industry observers expect to see a counter-bid, possibly from Microsoft, before Apple ties up the deal.

This is slated for its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8.

Data sourced from Valleywag; additional content by WARC staff.