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Twitter and TweetDeck confirmed the acquisition in blog posts published Wednesday, with Twitter promising to "continue to invest in the TweetDeck that users know and love."
In the TweetDeck post, CEO Iain Dodsworth said the acquisition is good news for the software's core audience, which he described as "the most active, influential, and valuable users of Twitter and social media in general. Quality over quantity." While Twitter's website and official mobile clients provide the user interface for the majority of users, he said, "by becoming part of the official platform, TweetDeck will now fill that role for brands, influencers, the highly active, and anyone that just needs 'more power.' "
Peter Kaftka at AllThingsD conducted an instant message Q&A with Dodsworth in which Dodsworth said TweetDeck will continue as a separate product division within Twitter, with additional funding for software development. Dodsworth said TweetDeck will primarily be a tool for Twitter management, with support for other social media services included as a secondary feature.
Terms were not disclosed, but on Sunday a CNN report put the price at more than $40 million. TechCrunch had been predicting a deal valued at $40 million to $50 million for weeks, following a previous round of rumors about a pending acquisition by UberMedia.
Twitter is said to be concerned about third-party tools connected to its application programming interface bypassing the twitter.com user interface and robbing Twitter of the opportunity to realize advertising revenue from its own service. So it may have bought TweetDeck partly to eliminate a potential rival for ad dollars. If Twitter is growing jealous of control over its audience, that could also pose a threat to other third-party tools that work with Twitter, such as HootSuite. On the other hand, HootSuite has worked with Twitter on distributing ads as part of the aggregated feeds it displays to users.
HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes doesn't sound worried. "We're excited to see Twitter add TweetDeck to their offering and hope that they can continue to evolve the product for power users," he said in an email. "As a proud twitter partner, we will continue on our mission to provide the best of breed social media dashboard for business users."
TweetDeck has attracted a loyal fan base for its desktop client, based on Adobe Air, which allows people to monitor and manage dozens of profiles from a single dashboard, and for its mobile client. However, users said TweetDeck would benefit from improved analytics and other features that might be more likely to be realized with Twitter's backing.
Blake Bowyer, a digital strategist in the Washington, D.C., office of Oglivy Public Relations, said many members of his team use TweetDeck but primarily as a personal tool rather than as part of their professional toolkit. However, that could change if Twitter uses its access to venture capital cash to built TweetDeck into a more serious enterprise product, he said. "If it becomes a stronger business tool, with stronger analytics and further development into the Twitter API, it could be a really great tool."
Lee Traupel, a consultant with Linked Media Group in Sacramento, Calif., said several members of his firm have been using TweetDeck intensively for the past six months, and he also put better analytics at the top of his wish list--along with better customer and technical support. "I've already sent them a comment that basically said, 'By the way, congrats on the acquisition--now it would be nice to ratchet up some customer support for the platform,' " Traupel said.
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