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Twitter! Whether you use it or not, or understand it or not, it’s the hottest thing in Silicon Valley right now. It’s brought up in every conversation. And no wonder - the service has exploded to somewhere north of 25 million users and has been growing by 40% a week since that Oprah appearance, says a source close to the company.

Google tried to buy it but was rebuffed by Twitter CEO Evan Williams, says a source with knowledge of the talks.

Today, though, rumors popped up that Apple may be looking to buy Twitter. Apple is in late stage negotiations to buy Twitter and is hoping to announce it at WWDC in June, said a normally reliable source this evening, adding that the purchase price would be $700 million in cash. The trouble is we’ve checked with other sources who claim to know nothing about any Apple negotiations. If these discussions are happening, Twitter is keeping them very quiet indeed. We would have passed on reporting this rumor at all, but other press is now picking it up.

Twitter is strongly signaling that it doesn’t want to sell at any price right now. The founders took significant money off the table in the last round valuing Twitter at $250 million, we’ve heard, and are aligned with investors to see Twitter through to the end.

And frankly that’s probably the best thing for the Internet. I wrote in an earlier post that I’d like to see Twitter spread its wings a little longer and see what it can become. It’ll be hard to do that as a subsidiary of Google, Apple, or anyone else for that matter. If Twitter wants to stay independent that’s just fine with me.