With the never-officially-announced announcement of Twitter for Mac’s discontinuance, the arrival of Tweetbot is a treat. It is a superb piece of software worth all the praise it’s getting. The $20 price tag is substantial, but not without reason:
Because of Twitter’s recent enforcement of token limits, we only have a limited number of tokens available for Tweetbot for Mac. These tokens dictate how many users Tweetbot for Mac can have. The app’s limit is separate from, but much smaller than, the limit for Tweetbot for iOS. Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter, we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users. Tapbots will continue to support Tweetbot for Mac for existing customers at that time.
If you’re a fan of Twitter (the platform), that should infuriate you. Twitter (the business) is doing everything it can to reel everyone back in from using the third party software that helped Twitter (the platform) grow.
Beyond the written words above from the Tapbots team, I have to wonder what the future really looks like for Tweetbot. It either:
- Operates unimpeded until it runs out of tokens.
- Gets gimped by Twitter in the process.
Option 2 could be outright shutting it down, but they’d face a PR shit storm (one they’d survive just fine, regardless). I would guess that they end up adding features to the platform that third party clients like Tweetbot can’t integrate into their product.
Ultimately, I’d suspect option 1 is most likely, but it’s really hard to just take Tapbots’ active development promise. What incentive do they have to continue development even 6 months after they’re forced to discontinue selling the product? Paul Haddad is an awesome dude, but come on.
That’s why the wildcard might be that Twitter just buys Tweetbot after it’s no longer generating revenue. It’s possible they’ve already tried, but it’ll be much cheaper to buy Tweetbot when they’re simply updating the app based on a promise to early adopters, and without the prospect of more sales revenue. And what’s Tapbots incentive to NOT sell?
This is the nature of not controlling the core technology. At any moment the rug can be yanked from under.