The battle between UberMedia and Twitter is starting look more like war.
Twitter is in advanced talks to purchase Twitter client TweetDeck for around $50 million, according to a piece published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. That would be considerable news in of itself, even if everybody wasn’t convinced that UberMedia had already bought the company.
Oh, but everybody was convinced that UberMedia had already bought TweetDeck. In February. For as much as $30 million, some sources said.
Well, maybe somebody should have noticed when we heard not one official peep out of either UberMedia or TweetDeck for over two months. If the WSJ’s sources are correct, Twitter and UberMedia could very well be fighting a bidding war over TweetDeck, not too shabby a position for the Betaworks-funded company.
It’s all the more interesting because reports just surfaced last week that UberMedia is working on its very own microblogging site to rival Twitter. The idea is that UberMedia’s version of tweeting would involve a less steep learning curve for new users and maybe even do away with artificial limitations like the 140 character limit per tweet. (Guess what: TweetDeck already helps users tweet longer messages.)
Allow me to compare just the desktop clients between Twitter's official offerings and TweetDeck.
While Twitter for Mac is slim and elegant, that also means it’s a bit barebones. And just as hard to get into, if not harder, than Twitter.com. And, as far as we know, Twitter has zero plans to release a Windows client.
TweetDeck is available on both OSes. The biggest obvious benefit of the client is that, besides Twitter, users can connect accounts from Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare. It also allows you to easily watch YouTube videos or record and share your own clips through TwitVid. And with Deck.ly, you can even send tweets longer than 140 characters. The list of nifty features goes on and on.
Let's not even get into mobile.
If you think about it, TweetDeck is so awesome that you could see it rivaling Twitter. If only it had the backend and traction. Maybe that’s why it would make sense to just join forces with Twitter. On the other hand, if UberMedia is seriously considering building a Twitter rival, buying TweetDeck would be an even bigger thorn in the side of Twitter. It wouldn’t be a surefire way to win the war, of course, but it would undoubtedly give UberMedia the ammunition it needs to keep fighting.
Analogies are misleading and this is going to sound apocalyptic, but it’s fun to think about anyway: “MySpace is to Facebook as Twitter is to...?”