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Monday, May 19, 2008

What If: Microsoft buys FaceBook

Edit: *Grumble* that's what I get for posting blog posts past midnight..grr

I was in the midst of slowly writing up a blog post based on Twitter and Friendfeed when something popped up on my Friendfeed. This.

Ha? What?..ok ok..lets back this statement up a little. I looked up Robert's blog post on it(here), seems like he's referencing his 'former boss' John Furrier who was making a comment about how Microsoft and Yahoo's camps were in the midst of hammering out a deal to acquire Yahoo's search business. (Yeah..latest in the round of that saga.) I took a gander at Furrier's post(here) and he in turn references TechMeme's posts about the search business deal. Furrier then turns around in his post and says "After the failed bid for $40 plus billion for all of Yahoo, Microsoft’s intentions are clear. Buy the search business from Yahoo and take that team and go spend at least 20 billion for Facebook. Integrating the search team at Yahoo with Facebook puts a formidable army to take on Google." He further goes to say that by doing this, Microsoft will end up spending $45 billion and be in a position to compete with Google. Now, remember that all this is just RUMOUR and most of the statements are at best speculative.

But I like speculation. Especially when Robert comes out with it.

Robert remarks that there are a few issues to consider here:

1. Google does not have access to events and other selected items on Facebook. That 'locks out' Google. - "This is a fight for the Web. We all just crawled inside a box that locks Google out."

2. This will hand on a silver platter to Microsoft an Aladdin Cave (ok, maybe the cave won't fit on a platter) full of Internet Information that will give them sudden empowerment in the Internet search area.

3. (via Twitter..not in his post) We're about to hand over HTTP access to Microsoft and they can shut it down if they want to.

First, lets take a look at these 'sweeping' statements. (you just gotta get to know Robert better!)
1. This is partly true as you can search notes, some public galleries etc.
2. True if it EVER happens.
3. Yep. This is possible again only if MS buys Facebook and in fact if your'e not logged on, you can't access anything on Facebook. Remember also that there is the indiscriminate removal of people from Facebook for no apparent reason. I had a friend who sent out some messages to all his friends on Facebook. Boom! banned. Reason given by Facebook? "You're abusing the messaging system" So, If I want to announce that I just became a father again to all my 102 friends does that mean I'll get kicked out too? (that was hypothetical, the baby I mean. We haven't even considered number 2) Irina Slutsky (very respected Internet personality.) also got kicked out couple of days ago. No reason given. So have many people.

Microsoft IS capable of shutting down part of the Internet if this deal is done. At the moment tho, it is merely speculation that might even never see the light of day. But it is possible. Robert actually has another part of his blog post suggest that in order for the public Web to 'fight back', we should take on FriendFeed. It 'replaces all of Facebook's killer features with open ones which are open to Google's search'. Actually, he's true with this statement. Some people have taken this to mean that Google's search is open. Heh.. fat chance. Its not. But is FriendFeed really a replacement for Facebook?

Well, its not. I've been using FriendFeed for a couple of weeks now and while I've gotten like totally addicted to it, it doesn't replace Facebook for me. Now, I've kinda fallen off Facebook since I started Twittering seriously some time back, but I still go back to it for only one reason. All my friends are there. Sure, I can incorporate stuff like Twitter,, Pownce, Jaiku and any rss feed I want but only one of my real friends are there with me. Maybe Malaysians haven't warmed up to the idea of FriendFeed yet. *shrug* The loneliness of being an early adopted I suppose. Meanwhile, its very important to understand what Robert has highlighted with his post and even more important to note how much of your personal information FaceBook has. Don't forget the Beacon fiasco. This is the Internet we're talking about. Just because Facebook suddenly took off and everyone is on it, dosen't mean you shouldn't be responsible for your private data.

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