Twitter getting a rival?

UberMedia reportedly building a microblogging site to compete with Twitter

Watch out Twitter. You might have some competition coming.

UberMedia, which owns major third-party mobile applications for the Twitter platform, is reportedly building a service that will compete directly against Twitter. If it's true, the move would come on the heels of Twitter briefly suspending the company's apps for alleged use policy violations.

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

UberMedia declined to comment on whether its programmers are building a new microblogging service. However, in an emailed statement to Computerworld, company marketing chief Steve Chadima said, "Our foremost desire is to continue to innovate on the Twitter platform and bring more users and usage to Twitter."

UberMedia owns UberTwitter, which is for the BlackBerry platform; Twidroyd, for Android devices; and UberCurrent, which can be used on iPhones and iPads. The company also has been in the news in recent months because it's moving to acquire popular Twitter client TweetDeck.

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

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said he wouldn't be surprised if UberMedia were to go after some of Twitter's business , but the company would have an uphill climb.

"Well, it wouldn't be easy. They'd have to get people to switch," he said. "One barrier is the Twitter audience as a whole. You need a critical mass to draw additional users. It's the usual chicken-and-egg problem."

Gottheil surmises that a Twitter rival might get a solid foothold in the market by offering a microblogging service that would post comments on the new service, as well as on Twitter.

"With its apps, Ubermedia can make it easy for its users to be on both platforms, Twitter and theirs," he explained. "Then it becomes a contest in attracting and keeping users... Once it's in that position, it can go head-to-head with Twitter on features and capabilities, and hope to win out in the long term."

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.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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