Loren Brichter, the extremely talented creator of Tweetie — which begat the official Twitter applications for iOS — has just announced that he’s leaving the company. Brichter wrote in a tweet that today is his last day at Twitter, and that he’ll be “taking some time to figure out what’s next”.
Brichter’s path to Twitter was an unusual one, and also the source of much developer angst.
In November 2008 Brichter’s one-man company atebits launched Tweetie, a highly polished Twitter client for iPhone that quickly became a favorite among Twitter users. He followed that up with the subsequent release of Tweetie 2 in 2009, which was also a massive hit.
Then, in April 2010 Twitter announced that it had acquired atebits and its iOS app — which later turned into Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for iPad. Tweetie for Mac, which was in development at the time of the acquisition, has also gone on to become Twitter for Mac.
The notion of having an ‘official’ app was a huge blow to Twitter’s developer ecosystem, whose third-party apps had largely paved the way for Twitter’s success in the first place. But Twitter argued that the lack of official apps was causing confusion among new users, and so it stepped in with its own. Aside from the iOS and Mac apps,it’s also launched official apps for Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
Of course, it’s hard to fault Brichter for any of that — Twitter’s management was behind the decisions — and he created some fantastic applications. Twitter will doubtless miss him.