msnbc.com news services
updated 5/25/2011 2:02:34 PM ET 2011-05-25T18:02:34

Twitter says it has bought TweetDeck, a London-based startup that helps people read, write and organize the short messages posted on the online network.

Twitter is not giving financial terms, though published reports have pegged the price at between $40 million and $50 million. The San Francisco company said in a blog post Wednesday that the TweetDeck team has joined Twitter. TweetDeck will continue to be based in London and its users will continue to be able to use the application. TweetDeck has 15 employees.

Founded in 2008, TweetDeck lets Twitter users organize the brands, celebrities, news feeds and people they "follow" on the short messaging platform. Users can also monitor their Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

Analysts said the deal makes sense. TweetDeck has "some great technology" and a lot of users, said Wedbush Morgan's Lou Kerner.

In a blog post, TweetDeck said its focus will continue to be "providing high-quality tools and services for the Twitter-centric power-user."

"The mainstream Twitter user-base is well catered for by twitter.com and the official mobile clients," said TweetDeck founder and CEO Iain Dodsworth in a blog post. "And by becoming part of the official platform, TweetDeck will now fill that role for brands, influencers, the highly active and anyone that just needs 'more power.'"

In recent months Twitter has cracked down on third-party application providers such as TweetDeck as a way to protect its turf.

The London-based TweetDeck was in talks with UberMedia, a Web company founded by Bill Gross that has been collecting Twitter applications. Some commentators have speculated that they could be used to create a rival network to Twitter.

Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character text messages, or tweets, to groups of followers is one of the Web's most popular social networking sites along with Facebook and Zynga.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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