Jan 19, 2017

Twitter takes a step away from developer tools

Once again, Twitter shows that providing app developers with tools is not its favorite job. The company announced on Wednesday that it's selling off its Fabric suite of tools to Google.

Most of the tools in the Fabric suite are part of the deal, though it's unclear what will happen to Digits, which lets users of third-party apps log in using their phone numbers, after the transition. A Google spokesman declined to share more details.

Love-hate relationship: Twitter's relationship with app developers has been rocky. Between 2010 and 2012, it made a series of moves that severely limited what developers did, eventually earning it bad reputation among app developers.

Since then, Twitter has attempted to repair that relationship. It acquired Cashlytics in 2013, then debuted Fabric in 2014 and even organized conferences for developers.

  • "We want to reset our relationship and we want to make sure that we are learning, that we are listening, and that we are rebooting," co-founder Jack Dorsey told developers in Oct. 2015 shortly after his return as CEO.

Why it matters: Twitter is keeping some of its other developer tools, but it's clear it's shedding whatever won't help it keep the revenue flowing and stabilize its business. Twitter spent several months last year surrounded by rumors it was trying to sell itself—including to Google—so straightening its business further could make it a better target. Twitter recently shut down its looping-video app Vine and reportedly tried to sell it off.

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