Twitter sets Tweetie free (with the iPad in mind)

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More often than not the consumer worries that it will be bad news when a popular software tool from a small developer is bought by a bigger company. However, in the case of Tweetie, one of the most popular Twitter clients for the iPhone, things could be very different. For a start the 'bigger company' in question happens to be Twitter itself, and what's more the application is to drop in price from the existing $2.99. By how much, you might be wondering? The answer is by $2.99 in fact, as Twitter has decided to give the application away free of charge. About the only other change would appear to be the name, which will no longer be Tweetie but instead become Twitter for iPhone.

According to an official Twitter blog posting a "careful analysis of the Twitter user experience in the iTunes AppStore revealed massive room for improvement" as people were "looking for an app from Twitter, and they're not finding one. So, they get confused and give up".

While not finding an official app from Twitter might be true I'm not sure where the notion that people are giving up is coming from. Indeed, the fact that Tweetie existed and was so popular in the first place suggests that they were finding alternatives that did a perfectly good job.

It may well be that the real reason for the Twitter acquisition of Tweetie has less to do with the client itself, and more to do with the developer. Loren Brichter has already won the 2009 Apple Design Award for his work and, tellingly, Twitter CEO Evan Williams says that his company will "eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help".