Twitter’s top investor, venture capitalist Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, blogged about what he thinks Twitter will be doing over the next little while to improve itself. He likened it to the early days of the Macintosh when a company he was part of supplied hard drives for the original Macs that came only with a floppy. That business eventually went kaput when Apple started putting hard drives in at the factory.
Most startups are like that, he says, with bare offerings that many others jump on in order to fill in the missing extras that users begin to expect. Macintosh had its external hard drive makers and desktop publishing software, the PC had its Windows and Lotus Suites. Twitter is no different.
Current third-party add-ons to Twitter like photo sharing and mobile applications are, he says, filling holes that Twitter itself will eventually fill itself. In other words: Seesmic, Tweetdeck, TwitPic and others.. your days are numbered.
Of course, many bloggers like Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider took a serious affront from this. How dare he say that 3rd party Twitter developers are doomed!
But Wilson has a point. Facebook went through the same sort of thing (and continues to do so), as did the PC, the Mac, Windows, and hundreds of others before. Twitter will, eventually, add on or buy a proprietary photo sharing app, build or acquire a proprietary mobile app, and so forth. Those who provided those services up to now will continue to enjoy residual users for a while, but will eventually die off.
This is how these kinds of services work. They continually evolve and change. It’s what makes technology interesting and what makes it so continually adaptable. If the developers who make these third party apps aren’t prepared to eventually be outmoded or replaced, they are disillusioned about what they’re doing.
Eric Schonfeld at TechCrunch understands that. Only the truly killer apps will survive. All others are subject to Darwin.