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Twitter Buys Tweetie, Renames It, Makes It Available For Free

Following the launch of the official Twitter app for Blackberry, this is absolutely huge.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie, a leading iPhone Twitter client. Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (currently $2.99) in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks. Loren will become a key member of our mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world. Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.

From Loren:

I’m happy to say that as of today Twitter is the proud owner of Tweetie – and I’m joining their mobile team and starting work on turning Tweetie.app into Twitter.app, for iPhone and iPad.

In my opinion, Tweetie is far and away the best Twitter app (my review is here). This is fantastic news for Twitter, and more evidence that they’re looking to take control of the external use of their platform, certainly in the enormous mobile area, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of this is good news for users.

Or, for that matter, developers. The jury’s very much out on what this means for mobile alternatives to Tweetie Twitter For iPhone, such as Echofon and TweetDeck. And is this an early warning that Twitter is likely to go after the desktop-based clients, too, radically improving the lacking Twitter.com to compete there?

Perhaps of more concern, Twitter hasn’t been exactly a leader in innovation for their own product. Virtually everything that matters on the platform has been initiated or improved by users (@s, retweets) and developers (practically everything else). Tweetie is so user-friendly and so slick – I hate to think that any of that will suddenly be stifled by committee-thinking.

The weeks and months to come should be very interesting. In the meantime, learn more about this news at the Twitter blog, or directly from Loren himself here.

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