Developers In Denial: The Seesmic Case Study

Way back in February the writing was on the wall: Twitter would compete directly with third party developers who were creating Twitter apps. Twitter investor Fred Wilson reiterated that threat just a few days ago when he said most of the apps that third party developers had created were merely “filling holes,” not truly creating “something entirely new on top of Twitter.”

That sure sounds ominous. And then, BOOM. Twitter released its own Blackberry app and acquired Tweetie, which has a popular iPhone and desktop app. The threats are over, Twitter fired missiles at its developers.

Anyone who didn’t see this coming was in denial. Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur is one developer who sure didn’t see it coming (disclosure: I’m an investor in Seesmic):

Seesmic founder Loic LeMeur two weeks ago, answering questions on Formspring:

Q: The “general” thinking is that Twitter will either buy Seesmic, or launch their own Seesmic/Tweetdeck killer, since they’ll eventually need to earn revenue (unless Google acquires them). Thoughts?

Loic: none of that will happem, it would be a disaster for them to compete with their ecosystem, which drives 70% of their traffic

Q: Seesmic stepped away from their proprietary products (video) and latched onto TWITTER – but, isn’t it very dangerous to be 100% tied to a 3rd Party platform where you have no control? Does it worry you?

Loic: not at all, Twitter is very respectful of 3rd party apps and we’re also on Facebook and more social networks

Loic Le Meur yesterday:

I have to admit I was not expecting Twitter to step so fast in the mobile client race themselves competing so fast with its ecosystem…As long as we keep moving and innovating and both partners treat each other in a fair way, I think we will all be safe, the hole is big enough and there are many other holes.