Since Twitter has come out with its own desktop and mobile clients, the prospects for the unlucky third-party clients like TweetDeck or Seesmic are uncertain to say the least.Even though Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur has said that he hadn’t expected this from Twitter, he was nevertheless smart enough to diversify away from the Twitter platform.
In an interview with Robert Scoble, Le Meur showed off the next version of Seesmic’s popular Seesmic Desktop client, which is completely independent of Twitter, and based on Microsoft’s Silverlight platform.
The main thing about the new Seesmic Desktop is that it comes with an SDK, or software development kit, for any developer to create a plugin for Seesmic Desktop, like on a regular browser. You can use those plugins to access dozens of social services, search engines, YouTube, etc. Twitter becomes just one of those plugins. You can use Seesmic all day without using Twitter once.
Burned by his Twitter experience, Le Meur says that Seesmic Desktop will be a very open platform for independent developers, who are free to monetise their apps in any way they like. Le Meur said that Seesmic’s next iPhone app won’t even include Twitter by default: when you launch it for the first time, it will ask you what services you want to use, and Twitter will be just one of them. Seesmic still views Twitter as a valuable partner and plans to integrate their ad solution into their service, sharing revenue with them.
Le Meur hinted at several other potential business models for Seesmic Desktop: an app store for plugins, and branded versions of the Seesmic apps. Le Meur talked (hypothetically) about a CNN app that would let you consume CNN’s content in myriad ways (web, video, Twitter…) and publish content to CNN via their “iReport” news crowdsourcing project.
An iPad app is still in the works, and we think this is where the new Seesmic could really shine: imagine a tablet app that could be a sort of social media dashboard, allowing you to watch the videos your friends are posting on Facebook and Twitter, telling you what’s going on around you on geolocated services like Foursquare and Yelp, etc.
As we’ve said before, we like startups that can reinvent themselves. Seesmic was originally a video chat site, and when that didn’t work Le Meur turned the company around to become one of the biggest Twitter clients. Now that Seesmic can’t rely on the Twitter platform by itself, he’s turning the company in a new direction again and we’re excited to see if he can make it work.
The whole interview is almost 40 minutes long, but if you want to you can watch the whole thing here:
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