Peter Kafka and Mike Isaac

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Twitter Buys Vine, a Video Clip Company That Never Launched

If Twitter ends up running its own video service, this should help: The messaging service has bought Vine, a video-sharing start-up.

We don’t have terms for the deal, but this looks a lot like an “acqhire”: Vine is a three-man company, based in New York, which formed in June. It has yet to launch publicly. (Update: Maybe not a garden-variety acqhire, we’re told. For instance, there’s a possibility that Vine could still live as a standalone service.) Twitter declined to comment.

Vine’s landing page describes it as “the best way to capture and share video on your iPhone”, specializing in very short clips — a few seconds apiece.

It’s different than the slew of other video apps currently on the market. Usually when you shoot with your smartphone, the camera captures one continuous shot. Vine allows for punctuated recording. Grab a few quick snips of video, and Vine auto-generates a longer cut stitched from those shots. It’s a novel idea, and hones in on the sweet spot of our ever-dwindling attention spans.

Here, for instance, is a contribution from CrunchFund investor MG Siegler. Here’s another, shot by Vine co-founder Dominik Hofmann at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, from box seats he says were provided by SV Angel, another investor.

Hofmann and cofounder Colin Kroll used to work at JetSetter, Gilt Groupe’s travel site. Other funders include RRE, IAC’s High Line Venture Partners and David Tisch; we hear the total investment was around $1 million.

If Vine had launched, it would have had plenty of competition from other video-sharing services, like ViddyKeek and Tout; Tout raised a $13 million B round this summer.

There’s also Vyclone, a collaborative video app that auto-remixes clips from up to four users simultaneously. And of course, there’s Socialcam, the app that exploded Facebook over the summer and was eventually acquired by Autodesk to the tune of $60 million.

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