Stat of the day: 15

The number of employees at TweetDeck, which has just been bought by Twitter for $40m

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Social media giant Twitter has agreed to buy the popular TweetDeck application for about $40m. It’s the latest in a series of acquisitions by Twitter, including tweet-searching engine Summize in 2008 and mobile viewer Tweetie in 2010 (which became Twitter’s search function and mobile app respectively).

With social media still growing fast, Twitter’s strategy appears to be to cover all angles. Third-party apps that make the Twitter experience more immersive have become increasingly popular: a recent report showed that around 42% of all tweets are uploaded from outside the Twitter website. It seems Twitter wants to regain this audience, as well as potentially integrating some TweetDeck features into its own interface.

We can’t help feeling $40m is an awful lot of money for a company that doesn’t make a profit and has just 15 employees. But TweetDeck benefited from some competitive tension between Twitter and UberMedia (owner of Uber Social and Echofon), who had been in talks with TweetDeck before Twitter swooped in and splashed the cash. UberMedia had been planning to launch a competitor to Twitter, which presumably helps to explain the latter’s aggressive move. But it looks like TweetDeck will become yet another example of the website’s apparent roll-up technique, where it buys up companies that are encroaching on its turf.

And after recently raising $200m via a stock offering (valuing the company at $3.7bn), it has money to burn at the moment. We may see a few more deals like this in the coming months.

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