Yesterday Twitter announced Fabric, a new mobile SDK for Android and iOS composed of four distinct pieces
The response to this release I’ve seen online have swung between two extremes, fawning adoration from the tech press proclaiming that Twitter has moved beyond tweets into mobile services and skepticism from developers who don’t trust Twitter as represented in this tweet below
Did Twitter address in any way their platform trust issues today? Innovation in guaranteeing long term trustworthiness would be fascinating. — kellan (@kellan) October 23, 2014
Did Twitter address in any way their platform trust issues today? Innovation in guaranteeing long term trustworthiness would be fascinating.
The root of this angst is Twitter’s tumultuous relationship with developers of Twitter clients which eventually led to their infamous quadrant of death post which effectively limited the growth of any app whose primary function was to be a replacement Twitter experience. This hurt many developers who had been working on Twitter reading experiences and in fact led to the CEO of Flipboard quitting Twitter’s board in disgust.
Thus it is a valid question for developers as to whether they can trust Twitter this time? The answer is Yes for a very simple reason. Twitter’s API moves in 2012 and yesterday’s announcements were borne from the same motives, to grow its primary business of selling ads tied to their mobile experiences. In 2012, they had to address the fact that their liberal exposure of their service via their API had created a situation where a huge slice of their user base were using the app through experiences Twitter could not effectively monetize.
At the height of the 3rd party Twitter app boom almost half of their users were using official apps (42%) although that percentage dwindled as they stepped up their mobile app efforts and sent the message to app developers that they no longer wanted people to compete with them on providing mobile experiences.
Taking control of the primary user experience for Twitter was the smart business decision and is why they now generate over a billion dollars a year as a business.
This brings us to Fabric. All four components aid Twitters core business of selling ads for mobile experiences.
All of these efforts help Twitter’s core business and it would be insanity for them to screw developers by abandoning them just as it would have been insanity for them to pursue an ad-based business model in a world where a huge chunk of their most active users were using 3rd party apps as their primary Twitter experience.
So go ahead, try out Fabric and judge it on its merits. I’m curious to hear what you think.
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