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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter has used the past year to supercharge new product development ambitions with a slew of acquisitions, while some of its larger rivals have been slowed down by antitrust investigations.

Why it matters: Twitter has been criticized by users for not evolving its product to keep up with new trends and user needs.

  • It also infamously shut down some of its high-profile acquisitions, including Vine and Periscope.

Zooming in: A number of Twitter’s most recent buys — such as Scroll, Revue, Squad and Breaker — have directly fed into some of its main product expansions.

  • Scroll, an app that removes ads from news sites for $5, and newsletter service Revue are padding Twitter’s subscription-based offerings.
  • Podcast-listening app Breaker and video-chat app Squad rolled up into the company’s Spaces product, its audio chatroom competitor to Clubhouse (which Twitter tried to buy for $4 billion).

What they’re saying: “When Jack [Dorsey] came back to the company [in 2015]… he worked so hard to define our purpose and then to fiercely prioritize what those initiatives are,” Jon Chen, Twitter’s newly appointed head of corporate development, explains of the company’s M&A approach.

  • Chen, who joined Twitter in 2013, adds that priorities that are often changing can lead to acquisition missteps.

The big picture: Twitter’s recent approach is reminiscent of Snap, which has cleverly acquired nascent companies to incorporate innovative tech.

  • For example, Snap’s early acquisitions of Scan, which became its Snapcodes; Looksery, the backbone of its Lenses feature; and Vergence Labs, the foundation of its connected eyewear, Spectacles.

Go deeper

South Korea will be first country to curb Google, Apple app-store payments

Apple iPads at a store in Seoul, South Korea, in February 2021. Photo: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Korean lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that will prevent Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The bill, which will become the first law of its kind after it's signed by President Moon Jae-in, threatens to reduce Google and Apple's dominance over app developers and their access to commissions from in-app sales.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.