Bill Gross’s UberMedia, which owns a federation of Twitter clients, plans to use them as a springboard for launching a Twitter rival, CNN reports.
The service would differentiate itself based on ease-of-use, and allowing users to post messages longer than 140 characters.
UberMedia controls Twitter clients UberSocial, Twydroid, and Twitter iPhone app Echofon. It’s also trying to buy Iain Dodsworth’s Twitter client for power users, TweetDeck.
“Together,” reports CNN, “those UberMedia programs accounted for about 11.5% of tweets sent on one day last month.”
Twitter itself claims to have 175 million registered users. After a hard look at Twitter’s API, we recently reported that Twitter’s active user base is probably closer to 20 million people. A source close to UberMedia suggests that our analysis of Twitter’s size matched theirs.
UberMedia raised $17.5 million from Accel Ventures in February, amid reports that it would soon buy TweetDeck and speculation that it planned to do what’s being reported today: launch a Twitter clone.
At the time, UberMedia spokesman Steve Chadima denied the company was planning to launch a Twitter rival.
Just days later, Twitter shut down UberMedia clients UberTwitter, twidroyd, and UberCurrent, saying the apps were “suspended due to policy violations.”
Earlier this week, we suggested the company might be a decent acquisition target for Google, which is hellbent on clawing its way into social as Internet users increasingly find content to consume and things to buy on the Web through Facebook before they ever get a chance to Google search.
The way we see it, Twitter has four options:
- Pre-emptive strike. Shut UberMedia down now.
- Enforce its terms of service. Wait for UberMedia to launch its clone and then shut it down.
- Do nothing. Posting to two networks would be too confusing for normal users, and that Uber’s clone wont’ go anywhere.
- Cave. Buy Uber.