Twitter, Tweetie and What is Next?

Just wanted to jot down some thoughts on the news that came out Friday that Twitter had acquired Tweetie, the mobile/desktop Twitter client.

I’m not a developer, so I don’t have any skin in the game, but I do use the service, have paid for Tweetie for the iPhone, and am constantly looking for the perfect OS X desktop client. Thus far, Nambu has been my app of choice, suffering through the many iterations during beta testing to the point it’s a pretty damn good choice. I’d probably pay $15 for it if were to come to that.

My first thoughts on the matter is that Twitter is still looking to monetize, they can’t go on sucking up VC forever. Certainly selling mobile apps isn’t the way they’re going to go, they’ve already said as I understand it that they will release the next version as free (at least that’s what I think I read).

There’s been much debate in the past about how this would happen, and I genuinely think they are finally preparing for advertising. Certainly this deal had to be in the works prior to the iAds announcement, with Steve Jobs lambasting current mobile ads, and outlining that monetizing search on the mobile platform as being a poor business model, but it is what got me thinking this way. Why else would Twitter be buying up mobile/desktop clients to give away free if they weren’t preparing to have inline ads in time lines? Or offering a freemium model to have ad-free time lines? I’m not suggesting they would use iAds, rather their own inline advertising. Similar to how Twitteriffic does now in it’s free versions.

Certainly this is all just conjecture on my part, but not one that I’ve seen discussed in the fallout from Friday’s announcement. Simply wanted to put it down in writing so I would stop wandering off on the subject every time I read about the transaction.

Well, that didn’t take long to come true – NY Times – Twitter to Make Money with Ads. As I said last night in a tweet, it certainly wasn’t prophetic, as there had been much speculation on how Twitter would monetize and advertising was one way discussed, but calling it the morning of the announcement with little other speculation that I’m aware of, must earn me some kind of geek merit badge?

So it seems by snagging the best mobile clients for themselves, if they do wind up doing revenue sharing for inline ads, they cut out the middle man on a popular platform.