Twitter acquires SMS service Cloudhopper

Looking to keep expanding all over the world, Twitter buys existing partner Cloudhopper to make connecting to text-messaging carrier services easier.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Twitter announced Friday that it's made another small acquisition: Cloudhopper, a start-up that makes it easier to connect to mobile text-messaging (SMS) carrier services around the world. The two founders of Cloudhopper, which had already been partnering with Twitter, will join the company full time.

This is key for Twitter as the company attempts to make inroads in communities where cellular data access and smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry are less common. But Twitter's history with SMS has been spotty: High costs initially forced Twitter, which only just unveiled a concrete business model, to disable text-messaging functionality in a number of countries. Twitter execs explained at the company's Chirp developer conference earlier this month that those problems have largely been reversed, and the blog post announcing the acquisition of Cloudhopper explained that the number of tweets relayed over SMS (currently over one billion) continues to grow.

Meanwhile, Twitter's mobile team is continuing to work on enhanced smartphone applications: Its acquisition of Tweetie and partnership with RIM to develop a BlackBerry app alarmed some independent developers who have built their own mobile clients for Twitter, but the company insists that having official mobile apps is crucial for getting new users on board.