Social network setback

Twitter axes jobs and Vine in search for identity

TwitterMicroblogging service Twitter said it will axe 9% of its workforce and is scrapping its Vine six-second video app service.

The cutback is despite seeing its user base rise 3% to 317 million and revenue 8% to $616 million in the second quarter.

Twitter faces growing competition from rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat and is still way off making a profit. Some 350 jobs will be axed.

Vine’s loss was unexpected and it will be missed by its users, although Twitter already enables them to record videos in-app up to two minutes and 20 seconds in length. It also supports live streaming and broadcasting through its Periscope service.

Some experts were predicting Vine to be the first of a number of technology tie-ups that sound good but fail to make it in the real world. Among previous flops are Microsoft-Nokia, Yahoo-Tumblr, News Corp-Myspace, Google-Motorola and AOL-Netscape. Analysts are keeping a sceptical eye on AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s former CEO, described Vine as “the next big thing” after acquiring it for a rumoured $30m in 2012. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s current CEO and co-founder who reportedly pushed Twitter to buy Vine, called it one of the company’s “foundational acquisitions” as recently as this April.

Snapchat and Instagram each expanded their video offerings and have dominated the market.

Tina Judic, chief executive of digital performance agency, Found, said:  “The third quarter results came in marginally better than expected but Twitter’s identity crisis – news or social media platform – is still in full swing.

“Further restructuring may buy Twitter time but won’t solve the underlying problem about what it is and where it wants to go.

“Increasingly, it’s feeling like a news, or perhaps even sentiment platform, is where Twitter will realise its full potential.

“Twitter is the ultimate barometer of anything and everything, and its latent value could be in the intelligence it imparts globally each second of the day. 

“With the correct strategy, Twitter has the potential to further eat away at the bigger, established news outlets. After the recent suitor disappointments, a major media outlet may well be a natural acquirer.

“Twitter hasn’t managed to be a publisher or news platform in the same way Facebook has. It says it’s working on making its ad platform more efficient, but as things stand, its sponsored tweets interfere too much with the user experience.

“In fairness to Twitter, comparisons with Facebook are a red herring as the two platforms are hugely different.” 

apple-touchpadApple has unveiled new high-end laptops (above) that feature a thin interactive display above the keyboard and a fingerprint sensor.

The firm says the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar provides commands that are more “intuitive” to use than the function keys it replaces.

It will be the first updated to the MacBook Pro laptop since May 2015. Its MacBook Air models are two months older.

Earlier this week Apple said it had sold 10% fewer Macs in the year ending 24 September than over the prior 12 months.

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