When Carl Icahn Tweets, People Listen

Billionaire financier Carl Icahn's use of Twitter to disclose his position in Apple is going to be used as a blueprint by companies, investors and Wall Street firms for the rest of this decade, if not longer.

Here's why: Apart from the fact that it boosted Apple's market value by about $20 billion -- making it one of the most-profitable tweets yet -- the Icahn approach to Twitter toed the line on U.S. securities laws.

He first filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday via his investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises, which is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker "IEP."

In the filing, Icahn stated that he might use Twitter to release information that could be considered "material."

He also released the same information on his Web site the same day, a day before he tweeted his position in Apple and made one thing clear: Twitter has become not only a nascent news medium, but the Internet version of a new financial news wire.

The business of providing to Wall Street traders and big investment houses information which can move a stock is today worth billions of dollars in annual revenue.

It's been dominated for the last decade by Bloomberg, the Reuters news unit of Thomson and Dow Jones Newswires.

That means if Twitter is planning an IPO soon -- and USA TODAY has found that two of the job positions the company has listed for hire indicate that Twitter is preparing a filing -- its revenue stream might be more diverse than just selling ads.

If Twitter becomes a de facto news wire -- with any investor or company able to use it to distribute material information -- it will have the capacity to take future revenue away from those three huge news operations.

Twitter may one day do to business and technology news...

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