Commentary

Do Twitter's Side Projects Send The Wrong Message?

Remember a few months back when Jack Dorsey promised to streamline Twitter’s product offerings?

At the time, he knew that’s what antsy investors wanted to hear, but the two-time CEO seems to have other plans.

Case in point: Twitter just made its first hardware investment, in a little “connected headphone” company named Muzik.

Muzik’s headphones make it super-easy for users to share song clips with social media friends and followers. Per the investment, Twitter will be integrated directly into the devices.

Granted, the idea sounds pretty cool, and highly appealing to new generations of music fans looking for simpler ways to share and connect on the go. I’d even go so far as to say that this sort of connected gadget is the future of social and mobile.

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The only problem is that Twitter is under intense pressure to right its core business, and -- to appease investors -- Dorsey swore to simplify the company’s products. 

Indeed, in a letter that Dorsey sent to staff in October, he promised that his team was “working around the clock to produce a streamlined road map for Twitter, Vine and Periscope.”

If you don’t recall, that promise followed Twitter’s decision to shed nearly 10% of its workforce. Worse yet, just a few weeks later, the social giant said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to reach between $695 million and $710 million -- considerably lower than analysts’ estimates of nearly $740 million.

Sure, moon shots make for fun conversation -- and tech companies do need to consider the next big thing -- but Dorsey and his team have yet to prove that they can stabilize Twitter’s eroding market position. 

In that context, reports of tweeting drones and the new Muzik deal could rub investors the wrong way.

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