Twitter has mixed financial results for Q4 2014; blames Apple's iOS 8

Twitter published its latest financial results for the last quarter of 2014, and the company has had some very mixed results.

First up, the company had a good quarter in terms of earnings which have grown significantly and even beat analysts’ predictions, coming in $479 million. Of course the biggest difference comes from Twitter’s advertising unit which saw a YoY growth of 97%.

Unfortunately that’s where the good news ends for the company, as the social network’s adoption rates seem to have slowed to a crawl. After successive quarters of declining growth, Twitter only managed to add four million new users during Q4 and now has a total 288 million.

This is the first time that Twitter’s user growth has dipped below Facebook’s and it’s a very worrying trend for the company and its investors. Recently, CEO Dick Costolo, came out against bullying and trolls on the platform which are scaring new users away. Costolo went on to say that Twitter would finally start dealing with these issues seriously.

Finally, Twitter also managed to lose 4 million users during this quarter, though most of them apparently never really existed. According to the company, 1 million users were lost partly due to a bug with iOS 8 and the way Twitter is integrated into the OS, and partly due to people forgetting their passwords after updating to the new OS. Twitter officials failed to be more specific about the bug mentioned, and Apple declined to comment.

Meanwhile the other 3 million seem to have never really existed and were counted only because of the way that Twitter integrated with Safari in iOS 7. That would result in calls to Twitter’s network whether the user requested them or not, meaning phantom users showed up on the company’s servers.

Twitter’s stock took a small dive initially, but it is now up almost 10% in pre-market trading meaning that investors are pleasantly surprised by the extra revenue and that the company has some breathing room to fix its user woes.

[Update] Twitter is now saying that it was their issue, not Apples, that resulted in them losing 4 million users.

Source: Twitter, WSJ

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