In a surprise move, Twitter announced today that they have purchased Atebits (maker of the popular Tweetsie client for Mac computers and iPhones). The intent is to create a Twitter-branded "official" client for those platforms, much like a similar Blackberry app that was also announced today. And while Tweetsie cost only US$2.99, the new "Twitter for iPhone" will be a free download.
The move has many third-party Twitter app developers nervous, as in the past the social network happily allowed anyone and their mothers to interface with the service. Now, flush with a recent US$100 million infusion of cash (and suffering from its unexpected exponential growth), Twitter has been going on a shopping spree and scooping up services and technologies it lacks (such as search engine builder Summize), rather than try to develop solutions internally.
At least one Twitter board member (Union Square Ventures investor Fred Wilson) recently argued that Tweetsie-style clients and other third-party Twitter services should be offered by Twitter itself, with external developers focusing on services like
business tools, analytics or gaming.
[Via the New York Times]