Zynga To Acquire Flock, The Social Browser That You Never Used

Zynga is acquiring Flock, a beleaguered startup founded in 2005 by Bart Decrem and Geoffrey Arone, we’ve confirmed. The deal should be announced shortly.

The company has raised nearly $30 million in venture capital, although the last round was closed in 2008. We do not know the terms of the acquisition. Both Google and Twitter were also bidding for Flock, we’ve heard from one source – perhaps to get Flock’s engineering talent, which is very highly regarded.

Flock first launched it’s social browser in 2005, and we wrote about it in August of that year. At the time, prior to Twitter and the rise of Facebook, “social” meant writing blogs and social bookmarking, and not much else. Flock was not a hit.

It struggled over the years, eventually switching from using from Mozilla to Chromium as its core. But usage was never really there. And now they have a well-backed competitor in a market that’s never been proven to exist.

This is Zynga’s eighth acquisition in as many months: XPD in Beijing (May), Challenge Games in Austin (June), Unoh Games in Tokyo (August), Conduit Labs in Boston (August), Dextrose AG in Frankfurt (September), Bonfire Studios in Dallas (October) and Newtoy Inc. in McKinney, Texas (December). Lots of acquisitions, and lots of hiring.

Update: From the Flock blog:

I’m very excited to announce that the Flock team will be joining the social gaming phenomenon, Zynga.

This month marked Flock’s six-year anniversary and, from the beginning, we’ve always believed in the transformative power of social. We knew that it would change everything we do online, so we worked hard to make it easier and more rewarding for you to discover, enjoy and share the relationships and content you’re passionate about. And so, it is incredibly exciting and rewarding for us to take our expertise and passion for great products to one of the hottest and most innovative companies in the world.

With over a quarter of a billion users, Zynga has captured the imagination of the world. Their dedication to understanding what social game users want and to delivering a wildly popular gaming platform is already legendary. And, they’ve only just gotten started…

Our team will help Zynga in achieving their goal of building the most fun, social games available to anyone, anytime – on any platform.

Flock’s dedication to its products and users allowed us to achieve over 10 million users around the world with two products on the Facebook top 10 list of the most popular desktop apps. We thank our users for their unwavering support and dedication, and we’re thrilled to be going to a platform that shares our passion for combining great user experience and technology. What an awesome way to kick off 2011!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year,

Shawn Hardin