Microsoft Must Kill Google, Now
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz October 30, 2007
There’s a lot of chatter over Microsoft‘s (Nasdaq: MSFT) decision last week to fork over $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook.
- “I’m not seeing how this makes any sense,” argues MarketWatch’s John Dvorak.
- The deal “demonstrates just how badly the world’s largest software maker wanted to deepen its relationship with a start-up that doesn’t even have $200 million in annual revenue,” suggests Michael Liedtke of the Associated Press.
- And finally, as Fortune‘s Josh Quittner proclaims, if Facebook’s revolutionary “social advertising” model takes off, “$15 billion for Facebook will look like the deal of the century.”
I submitted my opinion last week: This isn’t an investment, it’s a cover charge. Microsoft doesn’t really believe Facebook is worth $15 billion. But still, you’d be nuts to think that Microsoft would have paid up if there were no bonus schwag involved. In this case, it got expanded advertising rights on the popular social-networking site. That’s what sealed the deal.
Additionally in response to my previous post “Will OpenSocial Create Systemic Changes?” David Hinson, the creator of the Linkedin contacts app on Facebook, responded with an interesting perspective which I thought worthy of sharing. Here it is
David writes: “I think everyone sees this for what it is – a holding action against red-hot Facebook in the application platform arena, with “me, too” social networks in tow. Here are my “sight-unseen” takes on the challenges this approach has, technically and philosophically:”
1) Technical: this is a spec, NOT a library. So that means each container vendor (Friendster, Hi5, LinkedIn, etc) will have their own implementation and flavor of the container. Think Browser Wars, and then envision a cross-product affect as you try to work out the differences in what is exported (or not) across seven or eight social networks. Unless you’re giving everyone werewolf bites, this is not a trivial development exercise. I’m withholding judgment, but on its face I look upon this architecture as no different as say the Java platform or OLE / ActiveX – great in promise, rapidly different in delivery.
2) Philosophical: how is it “open” simply by virtue of Google heading up the effort? Simply because they are (a) not MS and (b) not Facebook? I can tell you this – I would fear Google more than I would FB with regard to ultimate intent. Still, I would prefer not to be the frog with a scorpion on my back.
Certainly the conversations on these matters will continue and the ultimate voice will be what the users of the social web end up doing.
What say you?