Monday, May 19, 2008

Microsoft should buy yahoo,facebook for what?

Looks like the blogosphere is all busy figuring out why or why not Microsoft should buy facebook. Another interesting angle to this is about the dataportability and the walled garden silo creation. Robert Scobleizer instigated this hot debate on why Microsoft shall buy facebook and yahoo search engine. (Here is the source for this big discussion )

Here is what Robert has to say about the deal:

Now Microsoft/Yahoo search will have access to HUGE SWATHS of Internet info that Google will NOT have access to.
Data and social graph portability is dead on arrival.
Microsoft just bought itself a search strategy that sure looks like a winner to me.
If all this is true there is no way in hell that Facebook will open up now.
It’s Facebook and Microsoft vs. the open public Web.

So this whole discussion is two fold. One is- why should Microsoft buy yahoo and facebook, and a follow up to that is the social data portability; will it ever happen. Here is what I feel about this whole discussion. If the rationale behind buying yahoo search engine and facebook is to use yahoo search engine in facebook platform, than I don’t think that is good thinking. Where does this leave Microsoft’s own search engine? Microsoft doesn’t have to buy facebook to use its own or yahoo’s search engine capability on facebook platform. Microsoft already has an advertisement deal in place with facebook, a further negotiation is all it takes to get them rolling. I agree facebook social data looks very lucrative; nevertheless facebook is not the only social data platform. We cannot ignore myspace, which is a bigger player compared to facebook and others like hi5, bebo, orkut, twitter, friendfeed, plaxo etc. I fail to understand Roberts’s argument on how FriendFeed, which is a feed aggregator, can compete with facebook. I guess this is bit far stretched. Sometime I feel we geeks as early adaptors tend to be more biased towards certain application/product. Erick from Techcrunch and Josh from readwriteweb have some good insight on this.

Coming back to the other argument where in Robert talks about how Microsoft together with facebook will become one big walled garden locking down user’s social data forever. Who are we kidding here? Looking at the history of internet, users always rule the internet. Even if microfacebook lock down user social data creating data silo’s, if the user is not happy with the lockdown; he will find another social platform that is more open than facebook. This will bring in more myspaces and facebooks to the market. Why not! This is good for the users and it is inevitable. Look at what happened to AOL’s walled garden strategy, they failed miserably. Even the biggest operators like ATT and Verizon that were operating in walled garden mode are opening up. As Alexander says , Even I wish Microsoft follows the User centric web and set the users free rather than lock them down.

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