All change at Twitter

It's the most fascinating tech boardroom saga since all that nastiness between the Facebook founders a few years ago (not heard about that? There's a film you should see). Twitter, which celebrated its fifth birthday last week, is a runaway phenomenon. But behind its success lies a long-running feud between two former friends who have vied back and forth for control of the company.

Oh, OK, we're massively exaggerating. But the story of Twitter's founders is interesting - and took a surprising turn this week.

Once upon a time - ages ago, in, like, 2006 - there was a company called Odeo. It was a website devoted to helping people publish and find podcasts. And iTunes was eating its lunch. Odeo's CEO was a guy called Evan Williams, and he put his staff to task finding a new thing for the company to do in case the Odeo website became totally overshadowed by iTunes' podcasting features. (Which it did.) A young member of staff called Jack Dorsey suggested a group text messaging service. They played around with it, liked it, and launched it in early 2007. You guessed it, it was called Twitter - in fact, at first, in line with the fashion of the time, it was called Twttr.

Twitter grew bigger than Odeo quickly, and Jack Dorsey was in charge. Before long, he found himself officially more important than his old boss. And that, it's fair to say, didn't sit well with Evan Williams. No-one's entirely sure what happened next, but in mid-2008, Jack Dorsey suddenly disappeared from the position of CEO of Twitter - and Evan Williams replaced him.

And that, we thought, was that. Maybe it was unfair, but at least Twitter's leadership was clear. Evan Williams led Twitter's growth, and Dorsey went off and founded Square, makers of a nifty payments gadget for iPhones.

Then last year, it was announced that Evan Williams was stepping down as CEO. All sorts of reasons were postulated as to why, but the official line was that he simply wanted to focus on Twitter's products rather than getting bogged down in management issues. A businessman, Dick Costolo, was appointed CEO and Evan Williams took a position advising the company on 'product strategy'. Fair enough.

But then a funny thing happened: Evan Williams wasn't spotted around the Twitter HQ very much any more. Instead, it got a fair few visits from one Jack Dorsey.

Now, what many were beginning to suspect has been confirmed. Jack Dorsey is back at Twitter, in a new position of Executive Chairman. He's advising the company on, er, product strategy.

So where the heck does that leave Evan Williams? Well, officially, he's sticking around. But according to tech blog Techcrunch, not so much. It quotes a source at the company saying Williams became 'less involved' in the company not long after stepping down from the CEO role.

We'll let you fill in the blanks about what you think's going on behind the scenes of all this. We know what we think. But for now one thing's certain: the founder of Twitter is back in control and his ex-boss is, it seems, out in the cold. Will this arrangement stick? Or will it all change again? Silicon Valley is a-twitter with speculation.... [You're fired. -Ed.]

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