There is a lot to do about Twitter’s latest API decisions, though in general it is obvious Twitter is pivoting or doing a death roll. Twitter is not the Twitter we used to know, they’ve changed in a different kind of company. First of all they are not the company for the developer anymore. Maintaining an API is hard work, it’s difficult to make it scale. Therefore they are outsourcing it. Developers are not anymore the core activity for Twitter. Maintaining relations with a lot of developers is hard work and it consumes a lot of time and you don’t earn a lot of money let alone the poor margin you make. Focusing on just a few big clients is easier and the margin is way better.
The Media Company
Second of all Twitter is becoming a media company. It turns itself in a publishing platform and not a platform for developers to play with. That has become clear by Twitter introducing Twitter cards, embedding rich media such a videos and pictures. Also they don’t want you to spent your time outside their platform or watch tweets in a different way than they dictate. That is the main reason for Twitter to cut off the friend finder from Instagram and Tumblr. Since if these services use the social graph of Twitter elsewhere then you might also spent your time elsewhere, which is rather inconvenient for a media company.
Twitter is becoming an old traditional media company subsidizing its contents by using advertisements. As a media company you want to grab all the attention you can for as long as you can in the way you want. Since if you are losing eyeballs you are losing money. That is why they outsourced the developer business because it is not core of a traditional media company and by outsourcing it they might even be able to still earn some money on it with a good margin. That is also why there are dictating how you should display tweets because their advertisers like it that way. That is why Twitter sometimes decide in favor of the advertiser instead of in the individual. Since advertisers are paying the bills.
Bankruptcy or API
What Twitter is doing looks like a company either heading to bankruptcy or to an IPO. They are adding focus which is important since no focus automatically leads to waste. They’re looking for ways to make more revenue with a good margin. Now I think the most remarkable thing is that they’re copying an old business model which doesn’t work anymore; the ad-supported web app was already dead a few years ago. Is there such an urgency for money on the short-term that there was no time to create a better business model? Or is Twitter really tired of all those small developers and just want to focus on big companies creating big money for them.
Twitter leaves the big money on the table. Since they had the opportunity to become infrastructure. Infrastructure is a lot less sexy than a media company. However media companies are easy to be replaced by another media company, infrastructure done right is irreplaceable.