Twitter And Apple: A Love Story

Twitter+Apple

Photo: Twitter

There’s been a lot of twaddle about Twapple lately.The news that Apple had considered an investment in Twitter seemed to come out of nowhere. But the notion of an Apple-Twitter mashup goes back years.

In fact, the romance between Twitter and Apple predates Twitter itself.

Ev Williams first made a name for himself with Blogger, an easy-to-use Web publishing tool. His blog, Evhead.com, had a fan at Apple: It was featured on Apple.com in August 2001.

Williams was still a PC user. That changed after Google bought Williams's first company, Blogger, and hired a fellow named Eric Case.

In 2003, Williams, previously an IBM ThinkPad devotee, expressed interest in Macs over lunch one day, Case tells us. Case loaned Williams an iBook.

Like other Apple fanboys, Williams found himself deeply concerned with Apple's ups and downs.

In 2004, Williams left Google to start a podcasting company named Odeo with Noah Glass. (Note the PowerBook in the photo.)

One small problem: Apple put podcasting features into iTunes and killed the market for third-party tools.

In 2006, a team of Odeo employees started working on Twitter. One of them was Jack Dorsey.

Twitter was a haven for Mac users.

Apple even featured Twitter on its website in a case study about using Macs for business.

When the iPhone first came out in 2007, Twitter bought one for every employee—all 10 of them.

Williams had previously used a Palm Treo.

Before Apple opened up the iPhone to third-party apps, Twitter created an iPhone-friendly version of its website.

Macworld 2008 was a momentous occasion for Twitter. The site, known for its downtime, needed to prove it could stay up during a big news event.

In 2008, Ev Williams ousted Jack Dorsey and took over as Twitter's CEO—sending Dorsey into a corporate exile some would compare to Steve Jobs's time away from Apple.

Meanwhile, lots of developers created iPhone apps. Tweetie, made by Loren Brichter's Atebits, was one of the most popular.

In 2010, Twitter bought Tweetie and renamed it Twitter for iPhone. Brichter joined Twitter and helped develop Twitter's iPad app, too.

During his Twitter exile, Dorsey became close to an up-and-coming Apple executive Scott Forstall, who oversaw the iPhone's software.

In 2010, Twitter hired former Pixar executive Ali Rowghani as its CFO. At Pixar, Rowghani worked for Steve Jobs.

In late 2010, Dorsey returned to Twitter as executive chairman and product czar, completing the Jobsian narrative.

In 2011, Apple unveiled Twitter integration in iOS 5, the software that runs iPhone and iPads. Behind the scenes, the company discussed an investment by Apple in Twitter. No financial deal came from those talks.

Today, Twitter executive Kevin Thau reportedly works full-time on the company's relationship with Apple.

Dorsey's other company, Square, makes a credit-card swiper for iPhones and iPads.

Even without an investment, Apple and Twitter seem increasingly joined at the hip. Twitter's mobile advertising revenues now exceed desktop ad revenues.

The latest news: Apple might integrate Twitter closely with iTunes.

We'll leave the last word to Williams. Every romance has its rough patches.

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