High-Tech Frenemies: Twitter turns on its partners.

Twitter has become a fantastically popular Web site on the basis of the incredibly simple idea of letting people zip out 140-character blog posts to anyone who wants to read their stuff. Sure, many of the comments are dreck. But Twitter has also become a kind of hopped-up, customized news feed. Follow the right people (i.e., smart ones) and you get a constant stream of links to the most interesting articles on the Web. Created only four years ago, Twitter has 105 million users and is delivering 55 million tweets, or messages, per day. It has raised nearly $60 million in venture funding, becoming the Next Big Thing in Silicon Valley. To date the company hasn’t done much to generate revenue, but that too may be changing, as last week it announced a plan to start placing ads among the tweets.

But the really cool thing about Twitter has been its business model. Instead of trying to do everything itself, the company threw open its doors and let other people build little applications that make it more useful. More than 70,000 have been created so far. Instead of going to its Web site to post tweets, for example, you can use Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Twitterrific, and Seesmic, written by outsiders. That open approach seemed like techno-nirvana, a free playground where anyone could invent and contribute.

Well, not anymore. Because just as Twitter was announcing its advertising scheme, the company also announced that it intends to scoop up the best apps and build them into Twitter itself. That means it will now be competing against some of its partners. Twitter recently snapped up a company called Atebits, developer of Tweetie, a leading Twitter client on the iPhone. In other cases it will just build its own version of what someone else has done. Either way, it’s rough news for developers.

How do Twitter’s three cofounders explain the change? A spokeswoman insisted everybody was too busy to comment—because, oddly enough, the company last week was hosting a conference in San Francisco for developers. What should have been a big lovefest instead turned into a massive anxiety attack. Onstage, Twitter CEO Evan Williams conceded there would be some “tension” between Twitter and its app developers going forward.

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who is one of the company’s investors, says a lot of stuff that outside developers have created really should be part of the basic Twitter platform. He means apps that do basic things like searching Twitter, shortening URLs so they’ll fit into the 140-character limit, uploading photos, and running Twitter on a mobile device like the iPhone.

Building that stuff right into the Twitter platform will make life easier for users. The question is, if these features were so important, why didn’t Twitter develop them in the first place? “I don’t think Twitter planned any of this out in advance,” Wilson says. For most of its history the company has been scrambling just to keep up with growth. Only recently has it been able to start thinking about building a cohesive business model. But it seems to me that Twitter has done something clever here. In effect, it got other people to do its R&D work at no cost. It just sat back and waited to see which products became popular. Now it can pick off the winners. So all the risk of product development gets pushed onto the outsiders, while Twitter still gets most of the reward.

For some, that is perfectly fine. The guy who created Tweetie, Loren Brichter, is blogging about the “amazing ride” he’s been on since creating his program. Others might not be so happy, but Laura Fitton, who runs a site called Oneforty.com, which distributes Twitter apps, says, “It’s being overplayed in the press as this big dramatic crisis.” Fitton organized a meeting of 27 top developers during last week’s Twitter conference, and she says none of them were overly concerned. “Everyone is being mature,” she says.

Twitter’s new strategy is a miniature version of what Microsoft did in the 1990s. Microsoft controlled the operating system for nearly every PC in the world, and then started absorbing other parts of the ecosystem. Sometimes it cloned them—as when it created a Web browser, Internet Explorer, and built it into Windows, wiping out Netscape Navigator.

Twitter turns out to be just like every other venture-backed company, under pressure to deliver a payback to investors. To accomplish that, it may have to hurt some of its partners. Should anyone be surprised?

Daniel Lyons is also the author of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs and Dog Days: A Novel.

Permalink | http://bit.ly/9kwuAm

188 thoughts on “High-Tech Frenemies: Twitter turns on its partners.

  1. Pingback: Become an Uber Driver

  2. Pingback: http://www.godwinsremovals.co.uk/international-removals/northern-ireland

  3. Pingback: Taxis

  4. Pingback: download free

  5. Pingback: APKBucket

  6. Pingback: 100 layers of nail polish

  7. Pingback: sen busun

  8. Pingback: bodybuilder

  9. Pingback: Skrota bilen

  10. Pingback: brook stagles

  11. Pingback: structural jacking and bracing

  12. Pingback: bad credit home loans

  13. Pingback: http://viagraovernight.biz/

  14. Pingback: nandrolona d

  15. Pingback: mark curry sol

  16. Pingback: big data visionary

  17. Pingback: hampton ceiling fans

  18. Pingback: subway surfers play

  19. Pingback: Skrota bilen Göteborg

  20. Pingback: Dicito

  21. Pingback: econs tuition

  22. Pingback: economics tuition

  23. Pingback: Restaurant owner

  24. Pingback: wedding photographer

  25. Pingback: helpful hints

  26. Pingback: visit this link

  27. Pingback: roadside assistance

  28. Pingback: http://chivetennis4.beep.com/get-totally-free-pou-coins-with-the-free-pou-hack-device-2017-02-24.htm?nocache=1487915112

  29. Pingback: is motor club america scam

  30. Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  31. Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  32. Pingback: Best Best Online News in the World

  33. Pingback: Free UK Chat Rooms

  34. Pingback: Switch Energy Supplier

  35. Pingback: toms cheap outlet

  36. Pingback: hunter boots online

  37. Pingback: cheap ugg online

  38. Pingback: coach outlet store coupon

  39. Pingback: buy nfl

  40. Pingback: jimmy choo online

  41. Pingback: purchase chanel online

  42. Pingback: gucci shoes

  43. Pingback: cheap arcteryx

  44. Pingback: hermes vente privee

  45. Pingback: hermes bracelet collier de chien

  46. Pingback: barbour motorcycle jackets

  47. Pingback: where to buy louis vuitton handbags

  48. Pingback: belstaff leather jacket sale

  49. Pingback: Factory Michael Kors Outlet

  50. Pingback: sac style hermes

  51. Pingback: cheap new balance sale

  52. Pingback: Pierre Hardy store online

  53. Pingback: mk diaper bags

  54. Pingback: nfl shirts for sale

  55. Pingback: ray ban occhiali da sole a goccia

  56. Pingback: buy fake id online

  57. Pingback: ray ban occhiali da sole

  58. Pingback: virginia fake id

  59. Pingback: callaway golf sale

  60. Pingback: new balance outlet

  61. Pingback: occhiali da sole ray ban

  62. Pingback: cheap Sergio Rossi shoes

  63. Pingback: us fake id

  64. Pingback: get a fake id

  65. Pingback: montature occhiali ray ban da vista

  66. Pingback: oaklley

  67. Pingback: fake id cc

  68. Pingback: illinois fake id

  69. Pingback: my fake id

  70. Pingback: emu boots sydney

  71. Pingback: nfl jerseys online

  72. Pingback: fake id master

  73. Pingback: service hermes

  74. Pingback: fake australian id

  75. Pingback: fake id names

  76. Pingback: fake state id

  77. Pingback: victoria's secret outlet online store

  78. Pingback: fake id guide

  79. Pingback: connecticut fake id

  80. Pingback: wisconsin fake id

  81. Pingback: cheap fake id

  82. Pingback: fake id photo

  83. Pingback: ugg on sale

  84. Pingback: i need a fake id

  85. Pingback: oakley outlet online

  86. Pingback: fake id machine

  87. Pingback: iowa fake id

  88. Pingback: bad fake id

  89. Pingback: ontario fake id

  90. Pingback: fake id card maker

  91. Pingback: buy id

  92. Pingback: fake id sites

  93. Pingback: marmot down jacket women's sale

  94. Pingback: belstaff bags outlet

  95. Pingback: fake id cheap

  96. Pingback: fake id card online

  97. Pingback: fast fake id

  98. Pingback: Armani Outlet online

  99. Pingback: how to get fake id

  100. Pingback: chinese fake id

  101. Pingback: fake id picture

  102. Pingback: fake id online maker

  103. Pingback: patagonia outlet store

  104. Pingback: arcteryx jacket atom lt

  105. Pingback: fake id provisional

  106. Pingback: charges for fake id

  107. Pingback: irish fake id

  108. Pingback: michael kors cheap bags online

  109. Pingback: patagonia outlet online

  110. Pingback: stuart weitzman silver shoes

  111. Pingback: canada goose canada online store

  112. Pingback: hermes flagship store

  113. Pingback: best place to order fake id

  114. Pingback: Oklahoma fake id

  115. Pingback: cole haan outlet store

  116. Pingback: chinese fake id

  117. Pingback: china fake id

  118. Pingback: how to get a fake id

  119. Pingback: really cheap ray bans

  120. Pingback: fake id california

  121. Pingback: ray bans cheap

  122. Pingback: cheapoakleys.com

  123. Pingback: cheap ray ban sunglasses

  124. Pingback: cheap ray ban store

  125. Pingback: caught with fake id

  126. Pingback: cheap ray ban sunglasses outlet

  127. Pingback: fake id oregon

  128. Pingback: where can i get cheap ray bans

  129. Pingback: fake id generator

  130. Pingback: european fake id

  131. Pingback: fake id forum

  132. Pingback: Best fake id

  133. Pingback: best Arkansas fake id

  134. Pingback: novelty student id cards

  135. Pingback: fake id generator

  136. Pingback: fake NewHampshire id generator

  137. Pingback: really good fakes

  138. Pingback: fake Indiana identification card

  139. Pingback: where to buy fake id uk

  140. Pingback: ordering a fake id

  141. Pingback: minnesota id

  142. Pingback: fake website scanner

  143. Pingback: make a fake id online for free free

  144. Pingback: Air max pas cher

  145. Pingback: Air max pas cher

  146. Pingback: fake id identifier

  147. Pingback: fake NorthCarolina driver's license

  148. Pingback: fake id consequences Georgia

  149. Pingback: SouthDakota id fake

  150. Pingback: fake id video

  151. Pingback: fake south carolina id

  152. Pingback: order fake id

  153. Pingback: counterfeit id

  154. Pingback: driving license fake

  155. Pingback: how to make fake id card

  156. Pingback: fake id orlando

  157. Pingback: scannable fake id Wisconsin

  158. Pingback: fake id Iowa

  159. Pingback: fake NewYork id

  160. Pingback: scannable fake id Idaho

  161. Pingback: how much are fake ids

  162. Pingback: student fake id

  163. Pingback: fake my id

  164. Pingback: fake id taken away

  165. Pingback: fake WestVirginia driver's license

  166. Pingback: fake id LosAngeles

  167. Pingback: buy NewHampshire fake id

  168. Pingback: spinner

  169. Pingback: glenavy

  170. Pingback: Gånsager Tømrer

  171. Pingback: Home

  172. Pingback: golden goose homme

  173. Pingback: Klinisk Psykolog Paul Manuel

  174. Pingback: Enchancia

  175. Pingback: RK MIESNIEKI

  176. Pingback: Ny sida 2

  177. Pingback: M&M Waterproofing Brisbane

  178. Pingback: Vibro plates in Gorey

  179. Pingback: golden goose online

  180. Pingback: cravates hermes

  181. Pingback: golden goose enfants

  182. Pingback: basket golden goose

  183. Pingback: basket golden goose femme

  184. Pingback: tour de cou hermes

  185. Pingback: bottes cavalieres hermes

  186. Pingback: golden goose femme pas cher

  187. Pingback: shoescribe golden goose

  188. Pingback: patron sac hermes

Leave a Reply