twitter_logo_2010.JPGMicroblogging king, Twitter (news, site) has made some recent noises about expansion and takes the first step by acquiring an iPhone/Mac Twitter client.

Tweets In A Tussle

Twitter can't sneeze at the moment without generating headlines. So recent news that the social media service was looking to expand its range caused a lot of fuss among developers and companies with apps that make use of the service. Now, Twitter is finally on the move by snapping up Tweetie, an award winning Mac and iPhone client developed by atebits.

The move fixes two of Twitter's most immediate problems:

  • A lack of visibility, both at the corporate and user level
  • And a formal presence outside of the desktop browser

It built the service on which many apps now thrive -- Tweetdeck, Twitterific, TwitBird are among some 70,000 apps according to the NYT -- but was in danger of slipping into the background, something that would damage any move towards an IPO.

Tweetie, getting a quick rebrand as Twitter aims high

Tweetie Take Two

The rapidly-evolving plan is for Tweetie to become Twitter's official application on Apple's store and move it from being a paid app to free. This neatly puts Twitter firmly in the most visible marketplace, along its recently launched BlackBerry app.

The move shocked some other Twitter-centric app developers that were, perhaps, hoping to be snapped up. However, it now gives them a clarity of purpose -- to become the leading opposition to the "official app." It will be interesting to see how that plays out, and what new ideas/features are created to differentiate them.

Tweeting the Future

Among Tweetie's existing features are multiple account handling, offline mode, multiple attachments and a nearby map view. What Twitter will add over time is a matter of conjecture and interest. Mobile apps open up the field for lots of interesting location and commercial opportunities that Twitter has to grasp if it is to start earning revenue.

An iPad version is already in the works, with Tweetie creator Loren  Brichter joining Twitter's mobile unit. The display space on the iPad should give the developers more room to play with and come up with something suitably innovative.

Whatever the vocal reaction to this acquisition, the onus is now on anyone in the Twitter ecosystem to crack on and start producing Twitter 2.0-level applications to keep ahead of the competition and stay high on the radar of investors.