Twitter to buy Tweetdeck for $50m

This makes perfect sense. I was blogging yesterday that Twitter really needs a desktop app (wondering why it hadn’t launched one). And now it has apparently stepped in and acquired Tweetdeck for $50m from under the nose of UberMedia, which had been in talks to buy the British firm.

The deal has comes about after management changes at Twitter HQ, which has seen Jack Dorsey return and Evan Williams take a step back from the day to day running of the company.

Twitter has apps everywhere but on the desktop. While mobile is clearly important to Twitter it is also really well served on the iPhone, BlackBerry and Andoroid, but the desktop remains the way that most people access Twitter the majority of time.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Twitter is in advanced talks to purchase a Tweetdeck and says the price is around $50m. If the deal goes through it is great news for Iain Dodsworth, the British founder of TweetDeck, who will make a great addition to the Twitter team.

It is an acquisition that Twitter badly needs to make. If it doesn’t get Tweetdeck then Twitter app maker UberMedia, which started talks to buy Tweetdeck in February, will likely win the race to acquire it. That would give a third party a great deal of muscle in the Twitterverse. Not something that Twitter really wants.

Of course, people will say Twitter should have built its own desktop app (they’re right), but this acquisition gives Twitter a great product that makes using Twitter a productive and useful experience that is a world away from the widely used Twitter.com (even with new Twitter).

The acquisition of TweetDeck could also solve some of Twitter’s wider issues. It makes Twitter easier to use, TweetDeck allows the sending of tweets that are longer than 140 characters. These are changes that could be rolled out to other Twitter apps.

They could greatly increase what people get out of Twitter and widen its appeal.

It is bad news for UberMedia. It already had around 12% of Twitter traffic from its various apps, which include UberSocial and Twitdroyd. The acquisition will no doubt further strain relations between Twitter and UberMedia. The two fell out earlier this year when UberMedia was temporarily banned from the Twitter API.

TweetDeck is estimated to be used by around 13% of Twitter’s heaviest users. Those are clearly the people Twitter wants using apps it owns rather than a third party frenemy.

And yesterday it was reported that UberMedia was working on a rival microblogging service to rival Twitter. Will it now move ahead with those plans? Its chances of pulling that off are slim unless it has something absolutely cracking in the pipeline that offers a vastly better experience to the one currently available on Twitter.

UPDATE: May 25 Twitter has finally confirmed the acquisition with a price tag of $40m.