High-Tech Frenemies

By Lyons, Daniel | Newsweek, April 26, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

High-Tech Frenemies

Lyons, Daniel, Newsweek

Byline: Daniel Lyons

Twitter turns on its partners.

Twitter has become a fantastically popular Web site on the basis of the incredibly simple idea of letting people zip out 140-character blog posts to anyone who wants to read their stuff. Sure, many of the comments are dreck. But Twitter has also become a kind of hopped-up, customized news feed. Follow the right people (i.e., smart ones) and you get a constant stream of links to the most interesting articles on the Web. Created only four years ago, Twitter has 105 million users and is delivering 55 million tweets, or messages, per day. It has raised nearly $60 million in venture funding, becoming the Next Big Thing in Silicon Valley. To date the company hasn't done much to generate revenue, but that too may be changing, as last week it announced a plan to start placing ads among the tweets.

But the really cool thing about Twitter has been its business model. Instead of trying to do everything itself, the company threw open its doors and let other people build little applications that make it more useful. More than 70,000 have been created so far. Instead of going to its Web site to post tweets, for example, you can use Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Twitterrific, and Seesmic, written by outsiders. That open approach seemed like techno-nirvana, a free playground where anyone could invent and contribute.

Well, not anymore. Because just as Twitter was announcing its advertising scheme, the company also announced that it intends to scoop up the best apps and build them into Twitter itself. That means it will now be competing against some of its partners. Twitter recently snapped up a company called Atebits, developer of Tweetie, a leading Twitter client on the iPhone. In other cases it will just build its own version of what someone else has done. Either way, it's rough news for developers.

How do Twitter's three cofounders explain the change? A spokeswoman insisted everybody was too busy to comment--because, oddly enough, the company last week was hosting a conference in San Francisco for developers. What should have been a big lovefest instead turned into a massive anxiety attack. Onstage, Twitter CEO Evan Williams conceded there would be some "tension" between Twitter and its app developers going forward.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

High-Tech Frenemies


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?