More changes for Twit­ter users as ser­vice tries to grow

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Bar­bara Or­tu­tay AP Tech­nol­ogy Writer THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

NEW YORK » Twit­ter users are bound to see changes as the be­lea­guered ser­vice fa­vored by jour­nal­ists, celebri­ties, politi­cians and cranks tries to broaden its ap­peal and at­tract ad­ver­tis­ers.

That’s whether it gets a new owner or not.

On Thurs­day, Twit­ter an­nounced one im­me­di­ate change: It’s shut­ting down its once-pi­o­neer­ing video-shar­ing app Vine, which has been eclipsed by the likes of Snapchat and In­sta­gram.

What else might be in the works? For now, think tons of small tweaks rather than a 180-de­gree turn. In a con­fer­ence call dis­cussing the San Fran­cisco-com­pany’s quar­terly earn­ings, an an­a­lyst asked CEO Jack Dorsey if there were any plans for big, rev­o­lu­tion­ary prod­uct changes.

“We’ve been mak­ing hun­dreds of small changes as quickly as we can,” Dorsey’s re­sponded, adding that users are show­ing that the “changes are work­ing.”

For now, it’s look­ing like Twit­ter will stay an in­de­pen­dent com­pany, de­spite months of ru­mors to the con­trary. But a new owner could still swoop in, and de­pend­ing on who it is, could clean up Twit­ter and curb some of the nas­ti­ness that’s be­come syn­ony­mous with it. Or per­haps a new owner would just show more ads. Or let it lan­guish while it mines the best of what Twit­ter now has into its ex­ist­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices.

All of this is spec­u­la­tion, of course, and there might not even be a new owner. Twit­ter’s stock has plunged af­ter ru­mored bid­ders are, well, ru­mored to be no longer in­ter­ested. On Thurs­day, the com­pany an­nounced that it would cut 9 per­cent of its work­force glob­ally as its rev­enue growth slowed.

While its ad­justed earn­ings beat Wall Street ex­pec­ta­tions, it re­ported a loss of al­most $103 mil­lion be­fore one-time charges and costs are re­moved.

A new par­ent — whether that’s Google (huh?), Sales­force (who?) or Dis­ney (hmm...) — could in­ject fresh life into a 10-year-old com­pany that’s never turned a profit and re­mains con­found­ing to many peo­ple. Of course, none of th­ese po­ten­tial suit­ors have ac­knowl­edged in­ter­est in Twit­ter, let alone their plans for it. Even if Twit­ter stays in­de­pen­dent, dras­tic changes to its ser­vice might just be what Twit­ter needs to be com­pet­i­tive with Face­book, In­sta­gram and Snapchat.

The Twit­ter sym­bol ap­pears above a trad­ing post on the floor of the New York Stock Ex­change on July 27. Twit­ter, seem­ingly un­able to find a buyer and los­ing money, is cut­ting about 9 per­cent of its em­ploy­ees world­wide. The com­pany also an­nounced third-quar­ter re­sults Thurs­day.

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