Twitter said to be in talks to buy TweetDeck

Move would pull the rug from under UberMedia, which was eyeing TweetDeck to take on Twitter directly

Twitter may be trying to pull the rug out from under a potential new direct competitor.

The social networking company is reportedly in "advanced talks" to buy popular Twitter client TweetDeck for about $50 million, according to a report out Monday by the Wall Street Journal.

TweetDeck competes directly with Twitter's Web and mobile clients.

If the report is correct, news of Twitter's buyout move must have come as a surprise to the executives at UberMedia, who have been deep in plans to acquire TweetDeck themselves.

UberMedia and its apps UberSocial, Twidroyd and UberCurrents, have been in the spotlight lately. In February, Twitter suspended UberMedia's three major third-party mobile applications for allegedly violating its use policies, then just one day later, reinstated all three apps.

Then, complicating matters even more, reports hit last week that UberMedia is developing its own microblogging service that would compete directly with Twitter.

Citing unnamed sources, CNN.com reported that UberMedia is looking to attract users to its own microblogging service by addressing common complaints about Twitter, such as its restrictions on the length of a message and how the service can be confusing to newcomers.

UberMedia declined to confirm or deny the CNN report.

Neither Twitter nor UberMedia responded to requests for comment on today's news.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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