Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Goes Shopping, Comes Home With Tweetie. Next?

Twitter has purchased Tweetie, a one-man company that makes a popular iPhone client for the messaging service. Given the rumblings that have been coming from Twitter in recent days, this is likely to be followed by more deals down the line.

Twitter says that Tweetie, which sells for $2.99 in Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes store, will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and distributed free in the coming weeks. An iPad app is in the works, the company says.

The purchase is going to give Twitter Kremlinologists another reason to pore over Wednesday’s blog post from Twitter investor and board member Fred Wilson, for clues about the company’s next move.

Wilson’s much discussed post argues in part that Twitter, which has traditionally relied on third-party developers to build cool stuff for the service, should be building that stuff itself. Or buying the companies that do.

Wilson specifically cited Tweetie as one of the companies that is “filling holes in the Twitter product.”  Twitter purchased Summize, another company Wilson lumped in that category, in 2008.

Wilson also described TwitPic, a Twitter-centric photo service, as a hole-filler. So if you connect the dots, you might conclude that Twitter intends to buy TwitPic or create its own photo uploader.

Another theory that isn’t mutually exclusive: Now that Twitter owns a client for the iPhone and has officially endorsed a client for Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry, it will look to establish a beachhead with other mobile platforms. The most obvious would be Google’s (GOOG) Android.

All that said, I’m not totally convinced that Wilson meant to use his post as a buy/build roadmap. To me, it reads a bit like someone trying to win a debate–perhaps with Twitter’s founders–about the best way to run the company going forward. And I have a feeling we’ll be coming back to this idea over the next few days.