Well, this is weird. Once upon a time (2008), Twitter was everyone's favourite web 2.0 company because it was so open. In addition to the Twitter website itself, there were hundreds of different Twitter apps for PCs, Macs, and smartphones. Then last year, Twitter's approach started to change. It bought popular iPhone and Android Twitter app Tweetie, rebranded it as the official Twitter app, and quickly found the vast majority of users used it to work Twitter on their smartphones. Which kind of freaked out Twitter app developers - were they still welcome?

Well, the answer is, kinda not. Twitter made an announcement this week which basically told Twitter app developers to stop making Twitter apps. At least, to stop making apps which "mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience." No alternatives to the existing official Twitter apps, in other words.

They do want things which enhance the Twitter experience - say, by mixing it with information from other networks, or by letting you schedule tweets, or significant extra tracking of your mentions etc. But the old-style Twitter app we know and love - which basically shows you Twitter in a different interface with a couple of extra features - is not wanted. The existing ones aren't going anywhere, but Twitter won't authorise any more.

Twitter say this is necessary to prevent users being confused by there being lots of different apps doing the same thing. But the fact that this has been announced just after Twitter added a 'quick bar' to its iPhone app that seems to mostly be there to show advertising doesn't strike us as a coincidence...

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