Late last year, Twitter placed a hard limit of 100,000 API keys -- that's basically "app installs" -- on third-party Twitter apps. Any developer whose app reaches that limit now needs special permission, and so far Twitter hasn't granted permission to anyone, in what Android Police's Jeremiah Rice called "their passive-aggressive way of killing third-party [apps]."
Just in the last few weeks, apps started hitting that limit, beginning with Joaquim Vergès' Falcon Pro. (The really sad part is, only about 40,000 of those app installs were paid customers -- the rest may have obtained the app illegally.) Vergès changed his app's description to warn people not to buy it, then briefly raised its price to 100 Euros before finally requiring its users to re-login, thus freeing up keys that weren't being used anymore (by people who bought it and moved on).
So far, Twitter hasn't replied to a petition Vergès started, one which now has more than 7,000 signatures. And from the looks of things, three more Twitter apps are about to bite the dust, thanks to Twitter's new emphasis on getting people to use the official mobile app.
The extremely popular Carbon app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times already, and may have been grandfathered in under Twitter's policy. However, Carbon developer M. Saleh Esmaeili announced on Monday that he has cancelled the enhanced, paid version of Carbon that he was in the process of developing, as well as its tablet version (called Graphite). Esmaeili has previously withdrawn his apps from the webOS and Windows Phone markets because of poor sales on those smaller platforms.
In explaining his reasons for canceling the app in development, he said he doesn't want to get complaints and be responsible for "an app that won't even get to live [sic] its 100K sales before it gets pirated." He is going to continue working on the existing Carbon for Android "as long as I can."
Acquired by Twitter in 2011, Tweetdeck is shutting down its mobile apps this May, and is removing the Facebook login feature from its desktop and web apps. While this is not strictly caused by the 100,000 install limit, Rice believes that Twitter is pushing to get people using the one basic Twitter app, because "this will allow them to increase revenue from ads and sponsored tweets."
A "tweaked" version of TweetDeck, TweakDeck "will also cease to function" once it goes down, according to developer Paul O'Brien. O'Brien opines that the move to kill the mobile version of TweetDeck "comes at a time when Twitter as an organisation are pushing users to their primary clients as much as possible, as well as doing their best to stifle third party clients."
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
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