Goodbye Tweet Speaker, Goodbye Twitter

Late last year I wrote about the launch and subsequent fizzle of Tweet Speaker. In that post I talked about wanting to give the app a second chance and said Elfred and I were working on some newsworthy features that might help bring the app back from the dead. Thankfully, Elfred was completely swamped at his day job. Though we did work on some updates, we just weren’t able to invest the time we were hoping to invest.

Every time we revisited the potential of Tweet Speaker the conversation turned to the challenges of making money in the App Store and what the future might hold for 3rd party Twitter apps. I’d like to think we could have overcome the challenges of the App Store with a few of the strategies we were working on, but I’m glad we didn’t spend much time trying. We now know the fate of 3rd party Twitter apps — a slow death.

I don’t in any way blame Twitter for the financial failure of Tweet Speaker, there are just so many things we could have done differently. And spending as much time as we did on an app that reads tweets aloud was probably a fool’s errand to begin with. But I’m quite frustrated that Twitter, in one fell swoop, killed any and all value that may have been left in the app. Over the past few weeks Elfred and I have been discussing the potential of selling the app. Though it probably wouldn’t make sense for an indie developer to buy it and pick up where we left off, we thought there might be any number of bigger companies who might want to acquire the app and do other things with it. With such limited access to the Twitter API, Tweet Speaker is now essentially worthless.

As of August 16th, 2012 at 6PM, Tweet Speaker was pulled from the App Store.

At this very moment I bet there are thousands of people writing many millions of words about Twitter losing its way, so I won’t pile on. But as a former Twitter developer, I will say that I am deeply saddened by today’s announcement. The 3rd party ecosystem is what made Twitter. This announcement is a huge slap in the face and a knife to the back.