Here’s an odd bit of M&A news. Wired reports that Twitter’s latest acquisition is a tiny Middle Eastern company whose sole focus is enterprise-grade security for Android phones. Whisper Systems, made up of notable computer security guru Moxie Marlinspike and CTO Stuart Anderson, gained the public’s interest when it developed a secure, encrypted calling service called RedPhone in the wake of the revolution in Egypt.
“As part of our fast-growing engineering team, [Marlinspike and Anderson] will be bringing their technology and security expertise to Twitter’s products and services,” Twitter wrote in an announcement on its corporate blog. “We’re happy to have Moxie Marlinspike and Stuart Anderson onboard.” The duo will gradually shut down their satellite projects, but RedPhone will be shuttered immediately – an unfortunate circumstance, as many Middle Eastern countries are still in the throes of citizen revolt. Whisper System notes that RedPhone will live on in “some form”, perhaps precipitating an open-source release.
But what could Twitter want with Whisper? Well, the primary Twitter service itself isn’t that secure. It’s possible that the company just wants to beef up its own security after years of high-profile hacks and celebrity identity theft. Plus, Twitter’s already investing in the Android ecosystem. Twitter has purchased TweetDeck, makers of popular Twitter clients across all platforms, including and Android app that technically competes with the official version of Twitter. We’ll me watching misters Marlinspike and Anderson with interest.