Twitter Platform Ream boss Ryan Sarver wrote an email over the weekend to third-party developers freaked-out by last week’s news that Twitter had acquired Tweetie, the most popular iPhone Twitter app and announced Twitter announced its own BlackBerry app.
Sarver tried to make the argument that Twitter’s moves are good for the app ecosystem, because the goal is to increase Twitter’s users, and that should be good for everyone.
Here are the main takeaways:
- Twitter shouldn’t have referred to its BlackBerry app and Tweetie as its “official” apps, and it will stop using this kind of language.
- The reason why they created these apps is because new users are confused by how many apps there are. They just want to use Twitter on their iPhone, they don’t know or care what “Tweetie” or “TweetDeck” or “Twitterrific” is.
- Since ending this confusion should increase the number of users who use Twitter, this is also good for Twitter developers, since the ecosystem will get bigger! QED.
Here’s the whole email:
I wanted to email everyone and share my thoughts on the acquisition from Friday, the communication around it and where we are going from here. We’re incredibly excited about Chirp, and I think an open
dialogue going into it is important. I look forward to meeting many of you there and continuing the discussion.
We love the Twitter ecosystem and work hard every day to help support you and make the platform you are building on as successful as it can be for everyone involved. We love the variety that developers have built around the Twitter experience and it’s a big part of the success we’ve seen. However when we dug in a little bit we realised that it was causing massive confusion among user’s who had an iPhone and were looking to use Twitter for the first time. They would head to the App Store, search for Twitter and would see results that included a lot of apps that had nothing to do with Twitter and a few that did, but a new user wouldn’t find what they were looking for and give up. That is a lost user for all of us. This means that we were missing out an opportunity to grow the userbase which is beneficial for the health of the entire ecosystem. Focus on growing and serving the userbase is beneficial to everyone in the ecosystem and more opportunities become available with a larger audience. We believe strongly that the ecosystem is critical to our success and this move doesn’t change that. We have analytics that show our most engaged users are ones that use SMS, twitter.com AND a 3rd-party application. It further proves that there are different audiences and needs that we can never meet on our own and we all need to work together to provide what is best for the users. Once I understood the long-term view I strongly believed it was not only the right thing to do for users, but the right thing to do for the ecosystem as a whole.
To be clear, we are going to work hard to improve our product, add new functionality, make acquisitions when it’s in the best interest of users and the whole ecosystem at large. Each one of those things has the potential to upset a company or developer that may have been building in that space and they then have to look for new ways to create value for users. My promise is that we will be consistent in always focusing on what’s best for the user and the ecosystem as a whole and we will be sincere and honest in our communication with you. To the point that we can, we will try to give more certainty about the areas where we think we can maximise benefit to users. We will continue to focus on what is best for users and we will work together to make sure that we are creating more opportunities for the ecosystem on the whole. We will also admit our mistakes when they are made and the Blackberry client should never have been labelled “official”. It has since been changed and you won’t see that language used with Twitter clients in the future.
This week will hopefully show that we are focused on building a platform that no longer just mirrors twitter.com functionality, but offers you raw utility that provides much greater opportunities to innovate and build durable, valuable businesses. I also want this week to be an opportunity for us to get together and discuss the future of the platform and how we can improve our communication, responsiveness and clarity. We have an open office hours at 10:15am on Thursday at the Hack Day and I invite all of you to come by for a discussion to talk about the future of the platform and help us craft a working relationship that is beneficial for both of us. I will provide a free ticket to anyone from this list that is unable to afford the current price so that they can be part of that discussion. Just email me directly. For those of you who can’t make it to Chirp, it will be live streamed so you can tune in from home — where ever home might be.
As always, you can reach me by email or by phone, [redacted]. I am here to listen and provide clarity when possible and you should know we are committed to working with you on this.
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