Twitter launched Fabric in 2014 as a means to enable developers to create better mobile apps, but fast-forward three years and the division is being sold to Google. On Wednesday, it was announced that the Fabric team and technology will be joining Google’s Developer Products Group to work with the Firebase team.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Fabric, Crashlytics, Answers, and any other related products will continue to operate as normal — the only difference is who will be maintaining them: Twitter in the short-term and Google thereafter.
In a blog post, the Fabric team explained that it has a similar mission to Google: “Helping mobile teams build better apps, understand their users, and grow their businesses.”
Digits does not appear to be part of the move, as developers are instructed to work with the Twitter Community forums for support. MoPub also has not been included in the deal. So Google is just getting the tools specifically geared towards developing apps, not marketing or monetizing them.
According to Google’s Firebase product manager Francis Ma: “As a popular, trusted tool over many years, we expect that Crashlytics will become the main crash reporting offering for Firebase and will augment the work that we have already done in this area.” He went on to state that “the integration of Fabric is part of our larger, long-term effort of delivering a comprehensive suite of features for iOS, Android and mobile Web app development.”
Fabric now reaches more than 2.5 billion active mobile devices, a 25 percent increase from April, when Twitter announced the mobile developer kit was installed on 2 billion devices. More than 580,000 mobile app developers build on top of it, up 158 percent from last February’s 225,000 number. It’s a packaged suite of tools that developers need to build their apps, including Crashlytics for app performance, MoPub for advertising, Fastlane — which Twitter acquired — for continuous deployment, and even third-party integrations such as Stripe, Amazon Web Services, and others.
It’s interesting that Twitter has sold perhaps its biggest resource to developers, more than a year after chief executive Jack Dorsey apologized to the community for failing to treat them better. Following the company’s Flight conference in 2015, it embarked on a #HelloWorld campaign to hear from developers what Twitter should be doing. “We need to listen, learn, and have this conversation with you. And we want to start that today. We want you to tweet at us and tell us what you’d like to see more of, see us consider, see us change in our policy,” Dorsey said.
In short, Twitter wanted a second chance with developers. The acquisition of Fabric by Google may not be well received by developers.
Announcing today’s news, Dorsey reiterated his strategy for Twitter, saying that the company is focusing on the core products and business in order to ensure long-term growth. And while Fabric is no longer a part of Twitter, he emphasized that there will be continued investment in the service’s public APIs, Twitter Kit, TweetDeck, MoPub, and Gnip.
You can queue up all the jokes around Google buying Twitter bit by bit, but the acquisition of Fabric appears to be a win for the Alphabet company. After all, incorporating the technology of the developer kit into helping developers build better and stronger Android apps is a plus. Unfortunately, it’s not a good sign of what’s happening to Twitter.
To find out the specific terms of Fabric, Answers, Beta Tester, and Crashlytics after the acquisition’s close, click here.