I have been a TweetDeck fan from (TweetDeck’s) day one. However, Twitter’s decision to remove Facebook integration from TweetDeck strikes me as a market strategy error.
From Twitter’s blog:
“To continue to offer a great product that addresses your unique needs, we’re going to focus our development efforts on our modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck. To that end, we are discontinuing support for our older apps: TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone. They will be removed from their respective app stores in early May and will stop functioning shortly thereafter. We’ll also discontinue support for our Facebook integration.”
I completely understand (and agree with) the decisions to:
- focus on web applications for modern browsers and a Chrome app; and
- discontinue support for AIR-, Android-, and iPhone-specific TweetDeck implementations.
But why discontinue Facebook integration? That’s not a technology or engineering driven decision. That’s a market strategy decision. By slipping that announcement in at the end of an otherwise reasonable paragraph, Twitter seems to be hoping no body will notice. (Sort of like Paul Ryan’s flood insurance rider.)
Facebook is clearly social media’s 800 pound gorilla, and maybe Twitter is preparing to go head-to-head with them and fight it out for number one. But that’s not going to be an easy fight. Plus, there are many other powerful social media players out there—Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Yammer, and a whole bunch more—that would love to knock Twitter out of the number two spot.
Twitter’s decision to remove Facebook integration is going in exactly the wrong direction. Rather than remove the integration, they should enhance it! Not only that, they should add Google+ integration! More generally, Twitter should move toward making TweetDeck the standard social media browser.
Owning the standard browser is incredibly valuable. Just ask Netscape, or Microsoft, or most recently, Google. Top web sites may come and go. But if you own the standard browser, you’re a big dog.
Google gets it. Google had the number one search engine. What did the focus on next? The browser. And now they have the number one browser, too. And they didn’t get there by removing Chrome’s integration with Bing or Yahoo! search.
Twitter is making a market strategy error.