Twitter Strengthens Its Mobile Platform: Buys A/B App Tester Clutch.io, Shutting Down Service In November

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Have the API wars around Twitter opened on a new front? Today comes news that the social networking site has made another acquisition: Clutch.io, a specialist in A/B testing for mobile apps. The news was announced on Clutch.io’s blog. The founders Eric Florenzano and Eric Maguire say that today was their first day working at Twitter on the company’s growth and international team, where they will “focus our efforts on Twitter’s product at a large scale.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Clutch.io users will have until November 1 to port their data from Clutch.io’s hosted service before it gets shut down. And in a nice twist, Florenzano and Maguire also say they’ll make it possible for users to port the whole system so that developers can run the service locally and continue to use it.

With the two now on board at Twitter, the deal sound like a classic acqui-hire, except that Twitter has also bought the IP from the startup. That IP includes “an easy to integrate library for native iOS applications designed to help you develop faster and deploy instantly,” according to Clutch.io’s site.

With Dalton Caldwell’s app.net nipping at Twitter’s feet with an ad-free Twitter alternative and a call for developers to join his march — along with the many other debates about how Twitter will develop its API going forward — this acquisition could raise some questions about whether Twitter has some other ideas in mind: will it use Clutch.io’s developer-focused IP in a new developer initiative, or is the intention to keep it as something it can use itself in-house?

Twitter’s acquisition track record has included social news startup Summify, blogging platform Posterous, email marketer RestEngine and Twitter client TweetDeck — all services you can see enhancing the Twitter experience either already or potentially down the road.

We have reached out to Twitter to ask for more detail and will update as we learn more. [Update: Twitter is not commenting further on this deal.]