Two popular Twitter apps from UberMedia were suspended recently as Twitter prepared to wage war in effort to protect its standing in the social universe as well as its $10 billion valuation.
Claiming to be concerned about privacy issues, Twitter harshly condemned UberMedia for allowing direct messages in excess of the 140 character limit and altering tweets in effort to generate revenue for itself. Add allegations of trademark infringement to those charges, and the stage is set for an all-out brawl in the online social space.
According to CNN Money (http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/18/technology/twitter_suspends_apps/), UberMedia is responding to Twitter’s move by attempting compliance. It is modifying its applications to address Twitter’s concerns and even aims to rename its UberTwitter product to avoid additional trademark issues. The product will now be called UberSocial.
Another software product made by Uber Media cutoff by Twitter, Twitdroyd is also being reworked, presumably to end the practice of injecting UberMedia advertising into Twitter feeds, according to the U.K. Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/21/twitter_suspension/).
UberMedia apparently expects Twitter to quickly reactivate UberMedia applications once its changes are in place.
Perhaps fueling tensions between UberMedia and Twitter is the apparent move by the former to acquire
Deck, an immensely popular Twitter client application.
UberMedia appears to be in a difficult position. Because it currently relies on access to Twitter, it seems unable to afford creating rifts between it and Twitter. Still, analysts point to signs that a direct rivalry is forming, leaving it unclear how UberMedia will continue to operate if it ever gets completely banned from the Twitter universe.
Twitter appears to feel threatened by UberMedia, perhaps because that company’s so-called “fat clients” are luring Twitter users away from the official Twitter Web site and applications. The Register says that UberMedia may account for as many as 20% of all tweets. If the company manages to acquire
Deck, that number would multiply overnight.
By controlling such a large portion of Twitter traffic via its third party applications, some analysts suggest that UberMedia can transparently and seamlessly switch from Twitter to another social platform should the opportunity arise, leaving Twitter shut out of its own game.
UberMedia could create its own independent social platform or join forces with another and bring most of its users with it, leaving Twitter vulnerable at a time when it appears to be maneuvering for an eventual IPO.
Twitter seems to be prepared to wage war early to nip any threat made by UberMedia in the bud before it becomes even more vulnerable to the growing clout of its foe with its users.