Twitter buys iPhone app Tweetie – will make it free

It was tipped earlier this week and it has now been confirmed that Twitter has bought iPhone Twitter client Tweetie ahead of a possible launch of its own photo uploader.

Earlier this week it was reported that Twitter could buy Loren Brichter’s Tweetie app and possibly build its own photo uploader hitting TwitPic, which has become the default third party service Twitter users use to upload photos.

Twitter sees both the iPhone app and photo uploader as core to its platform. With that and talk of a “significant” new design on the way Twitter is going to be having a busy year.

It’s own URL shortening tool is also in the works, which it will need in place ahead of its planned advertising platform, which is apparently due at some point in the next couple of months.

Buying Tweetie makes a lot sense, I mean why rebuild apps when there are such good ones out there? Brichter was clearly open to a deal and as part of the agreement he is joining the Twitter mobile team and Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone.

Twitter said that Brichter (whose work won the 2009 Apple Design Award) will work on developing Twitter for iPad among other things.

On top of that the app, which is currently $2.99, will be made free in the coming weeks. Yes you read right. Twitter the company that makes no money is giving away its iPhone app.

It is not quite as mad as it sounds. Clearly Twitter wants to ensure its app is dominant in the market and what better way to do that than to give away a very good app. It is clearly advertising where Twitter is betting the bucks will come from.

In a blog post Twitter stressed how important mobile has always been to it starting with SMS, which lead to the 140 character limit in the firstplace.

“As we work to provide the best possible Twitter experience on all of the major mobile platforms, momentum will increase dramatically. Millions more active, engaged, mobile users means more opportunities for all of us.

“Developers, services, and publishers will be able to leverage the Twitter iPhone and iPad applications to create additional innovative tools and integrations for users. We’ll have more specific information on this once Loren is officially on board. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Loren to the Twitter team,” Twitter said.

[Twitter]

  • Will Bates

    It was the right move to make app free given their advertising strategy. It will be so interesting to see how much they make from it when it’s launched, its been long enough!

  • Mike Benson

    Could Twitter actually begin to start making some money, a huge percentage of their users focus solely on the use of Twitter from the phone, it will be interesting to see how they develop this market

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