TweetDeck, the most popular third-party Twitter client, has been purchased by UberMedia, which already owns Echofon, Twidroyd and UberTwitter, reports TechCrunch. UberMedia’s acquisition of TweetDeck places control of about 20 percent of tweets sent daily under control of a single company.
UberMedia, which is owned by Bill Gross, reportedly paid $30 million for TweetDeck, which ranks as the largest Twitter client outside of the official Twitter framework. That’s a significant number considering TweetDeck has raised less than $5 million in funding over the past two years.
That such a large portion of Twitter’s functionality is now controlled by Gross’s company puts UberMedia at odds with Twitter itself. Especially when you consider that Twitter has yet to develop a business plan that actually makes money off of the service’s 200 million users.
It’s possible, however, that Gross has already received his comeuppance.
Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google and Facebook have been engaged in low-level talks to acquire Twitter itself for between $8 billion and $10 billion.
That high a valuation presumably played into how much UberMedia payed for TweetDeck, which relies on Twitter for its survival. Some believe, however, that such an unfathomable amount for a popular — but unprofitable — social media service is evidence that a second tech bubble is ballooning, and will at some point burst. If that cheerful thought is true, then it would seem inevitable that Gross over-paid for TweetDeck, as the entire economic environment surrounding the purchase was bloated with unrealistic optimism.
Of course, nobody yet knows for sure how long the current upswing in the social media sector will last — and who will come out on top when all is said and done. For now, Twitter and the industry that surrounds it will simply have to live with the fact that its potentially carrying more weight than it can handle.