June 28, 2011 11:58 pm

Biz Stone takes back seat at Twitter

Twitter is losing another of its original architects, as Biz Stone said he would step back from full-time duties at the social networking site to launch a new venture with recently departed co-founder Evan Williams.

Mr Stone, Twitter’s designer, said he was teaming up with Mr Williams, its former chief executive, and Jason Goldman, one of the site’s former product engineers, to “develop new projects and work on solving big problems”. Although product details were scant, their company is the reformed Obvious Corp, Twitter’s original parent, started by Mr Williams in 2006.

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“My work on Twitter has spanned more than half a decade and I will continue to work with the company for many years to come,” Mr Stone wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Calling Twitter’s new management team “incredibly productive”, he said, “I’ve decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I’m called upon to be of some specific use.”

Mr Stone said Dick Costolo, an ex-Google official who became Twitter’s chief executive last October, had been “very supportive” of his decision to take a more diminished role in the company.

The past three months have seen significant changes in Twitter’s management. In March, six months after stepping down as chief executive, Mr Williams said he would “scale back” his role at Twitter.

At the same time, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s third co-founder and its original chief executive, returned to lead its product development team as executive chairman. Mr Dorsey is also chief executive of Square, a mobile payments service launched in 2009.

Although Twitter is growing rapidly, with more than 300m accounts created, it has so far failed to find a commercial model to match that of Facebook, its closest rival. It also faces new competition from Google, which launched its latest social networking venture on Tuesday.

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