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Rumour: Twitter Buying TweetDeck For $50 Million

Twitter is in “advanced talks” to acquire TweetDeck, the popular desktop client, for around $50 million, reports the Wall Street Journal, sourcing people “familiar with the matter”.

Back in February the blogspace was buzzing with the ‘news’ that TweetDeck was about to be purchased by Ubermedia for between $25-30 million. When Twitter turned off Ubermedia’s faucet, that story promptly disappeared.

So is this another silly rumour, or is TweetDeck really in play?

Twitter, of course, won’t comment directly, but they’ve graced us with a semi-official release through their @twitterglobapr account.

Since when don’t people comment on rumours? What’s wrong with saying ‘this is nonsense’? Oh, right, that would be far too easy for the oh-so-mysterious bird.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Twitter has purchased an asset that compliments their space. In 2008 the company acquired Summize, which became search.twitter.com, and last April popular iPhone client Tweetie was bought and re-branded as the official Twitter app.

If the TweetDeck story is true, it will be interesting to see what they do with the software. I’m not sure if an official desktop app is the right solution for Twitter – adding awe-inspiring features to Twitter.com, which is web-based (and thus portable) and already far and away the market leader, would seem like the more intelligent path – and while popular, TweetDeck isn’t as powerful (or as good, IMO) a client as competitors like HootSuite.

And part of me worries that Ubermedia has kind of tricked Twitter into doing this. I’m reminded of the Detroit Pistons spoofing the Atlanta Hawks into paying centre Jon Koncak, with his mighty 4.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game average, $13m over six seasons in 1989, simply by showing a sliver of interest. For those six seasons, Koncak was one of the NBA’s most overpaid duds. Does Twitter really have $50m to spend? Is TweetDeck that big of an asset? Is Ubermedia that much of a threat?

So who knows: maybe they’ll simply shut it down. Or suck out the choice meat and ignore the carcass. As rash as that sounds, it certainly wouldn’t be out of kilter in this crazy little place called the internet.

(UPDATE: Late last night the WSJ modified their story about this potential acquisition and replaced it with this, which still mentions the TweetDeck purchase but is less definitive. See their original tweet to the news showing confirmation that they did indeed write it with the bolder headline.

Various reports online also link to the now-altered WSJ piece, and if you Google this news you can still see the original article, but again it links to this new piece.

Not sure if this has been done on Twitter’s insistence, or whether this proves that this was a non-story after all. We’ll update when we have confirmation.)

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