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Twitter app makers trying to figure out the future

Lex Friedman | Aug. 22, 2012
After Twitter announced some tough new rules for third-party developers last week, it remains unclear precisely what those changes might mean for the future of your favorite third-party Twitter client.

"We were there at the beginning and we're going to ride this wave out," Stone added.

Trying to understand

One developer of a different third-party Twitter app told Macworld on condition of anonymity that he's "confused but still maybe stupidly optimistic" by Twitter's latest moves with its API. His confusion stems from the fact that "third party clients are a really small niche, but with an important user base that Twitter is incapable of satisfying with their own apps." The developer can't figure out Twitter's goal in instituting the new API rules, doubting that "it's a function of money," pointing out that Twitter could--like "client developers pay for API access. Or they could pull an Instapaper and offer Pro accounts, letting those users use third party clients. Those users have already proven they're willing to pay for a different experience."

Explaining his optimism, the developer referenced existing developers' ability to double their user bases, and highlighting the fact that "Twitter left the door open" for developers by saying that, once they hit their user caps, they would need explicit permission from the company. That's better than saying that once you hit the cap, you're entirely out of luck--though Twitter hasn't said under what circumstances, if any, it would grant third-party developers increases in those user caps.

"I don't know what the end-game is, and I'm not sure [Twitter does] either," the developer said. "We've all known for a while they don't want third party clients; I'd love to know why."

So far, though, Twitter isn't saying.


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