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Acquisition of technology startups by companies is a regular part of business today, providing a way for these companies to get the technology, talent, as well as user and market share they need to be successful. These acquisitions play an important part of API ecosystems, with API owners hoping developers build the next killer feature that users will love, something they can invest in, and developers dream API owners will notice their work and purchase their “startup”.

Looking back at the acquisitions made by a company can function as a sort of “tea leaves”, allowing us to interpret the companies motivations, possibly telling us where they are headed and who they might acquire next. As part of my Twitter research I wanted to look at the acquisitions made by Twitter over its six year history:

2008
07/2008 - Summize - Social Search

11/2008 - Values of n - Social Software Developers
2009
12/2009 - Mixer Labs - Location Information Engine
2010
04/2010 - Atebits - Tweetie Client for iOS and Mac

04/2010 - Cloudhopper - Mobile Messaging

06/2010 - Smallthought Systems - Database and Analytics

12/2010 - Fluther - Question & Answer Service
2011
05/2011 - TweetDeck - Web and Desktop Twitter Client

05/2011 - AdGrok - Advertising

07/2011 - BackType - Social Analytics

08/2011 - Bagcheck - Social Sharing and Discovery
09/2011 - Julpan - Real-time Social Search Engine

11/2011 - Whisper Systems - Mobile Privacy and Security
2012
01/2012 - Summify - Social News

01/2012 - Dasient - Internet Security

03/2012 - Posterous - Blogging Platform

04/2012 - Hotspots.io - Social Media Intelligence

05/2012 - RestEngine - Personalized Email Marketing Service

06/2012 - nclud - Boutique Design Agency

Twitter’s acquisitions are diverse and appear to be very strategic. Twitter has wisely invested in search, security, messaging and data storage, while also taking control over mobile and desktop clients.  Twitter has made some smart acquisitions out of the ecosystem, and you have to wonder why acquisitions of companies like Tweetie and TweeDeck caused such a backlash, while acquisitions like Backtype, Julpan and Dasient you don’t hear much of anything from the ecosystem.

I would like to understand other players in the Twitter ecosystem like the firehose partners and investors more, before I draw too many conclusions from the acquisitions Twitter has made.  Twitter has already made 6 acuisitions this year, the same amount as Twitter acquired in 2011, and we are only halfway through the year.  It makes you wonder who Twitter's next acquisition will be.




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