Twitter is willing to spend to boost direct messaging. CNBC notes that Twitter acquired the Sphere chat app for an unspecified amount. Vice President of Engineering Nick Caldwell noted the movement would accelerate development for DMs, communities and creators. There was no specific clue as to what to follow, but Sphere said it was “shutting down” its app in November. You will then not see a reused Sphere application.
Sphere stands out not only for its functionality (it focuses on “essential” messages and eliminating clutter), but also for the power of the tech industry star surrounding the app. The company is the product of Nick D’Aloisio, a serial entrepreneur who gained attention even as a teenager – he sold Summly to Yahoo (now Engadget’s parent company) when he was 17. founders of Airbnb and Tinder. While Sphere isn’t particularly large with just 20 staff headed to Twitter, there were clearly high hopes ahead of the acquisition.
The purchase is appropriate. Twitter has invested much of its recent energy into DMs and helping creators form communities. Twitter could weave Sphere’s targeted community features into its social network and better compete with Instagram and other rivals who thrive on private messaging and influencers.