In its short life Twitter has been a remarkably generous company, seemingly happy to allow other companies to use its existence and data to build their own businesses.
One such is TweetMeme whose retweet button, in effect a way of editing and distributing popular tweets, was used 750m times a day. Now however Twitter is launching its own tweet button, in effect putting UK-based TweetMeme out of a job.
But Twitter has agreed to allow TweetMeme access to its ‘firehose,’ the data network at the heart of its business. The challenge for TweetMeme is now to develop other products although clearly only ones that big brother Twitter finds acceptable.
The move has vital implications for other sites that depend on Twitter, like TweetDeck, Bit.ly and TweetUp.
In effect the best these companies can be now is approved app providers to Twitter but at least they may not be excluded entirely.
As for TweetMeme it has yet to reveal what new services it will offer (maybe it doesn’t know yet). But if you are a shareholder in any of these businesses you’d still be feeling rather nervous.