When Twitter shut down third-party clients in January, it not only left out in the cold the users of those apps, but the developers too. Many of those apps were significant sources of revenue for the teams behind them, and that income was cut off capriciously, without any warning.
One additional complication is that some clients had shifted to a subscription-based system in recent years, with users paying by the month or the year. Since those subscriptions were generally prepaid, users ended up in a situation where they essentially no longer had access to the app they’d paid for.
Twitter’s kneecapping of third-party clients didn’t just mean that their future revenue was gone — it meant revenue they’d already collected from App Store subscriptions would need to go back to customers in the form of prorated refunds for the remaining months on each and every user’s annual subscriptions. Consider the gut punch of losing your job — you stop earning income. It’s brutal. Now imagine that the way it worked when you get fired or laid off is that you’re also suddenly on the hook to pay back the last, say, 6 months of your income. That’s where Tapbots and The Iconfactory are.
I can’t recall a situation like this, with an ecosystem of third-party clients collecting subscriptions and then having the first-party service yank the carpet out from under them — and their customers — with zero warning or sunset period. A proper sunset period would have allowed such third-party partners — and developers like Tapbots and The Iconfactory were indeed partners of Twitter— to stop accepting new subscriptions and renewals, and allow existing subscribers to run out the clock with service for the period they already paid for.