Daily Archives: May 19, 2008

Why Microsoft will buy Facebook and keep it closed

Cartoon about something important happening on Web

It no longer is about Data Portability or Social Graph Portability, if you will.

I’m hearing these rumors too that John Furrier (my ex-boss) is reporting. That Microsoft will buy Yahoo’s search and then buy Facebook for $15 to $20 billion. Add that to all the news that Microsoft is buying Yahoo’s search and that gets very interesting.

That just changed the whole argument of Facebook vs. Google to one of Microsoft vs. the Web.

Think about this just a second.

Let’s say Microsoft gets Yahoo’s search. That doesn’t look that brilliant. After all, we know Google is gaining share there and taking Yahoo’s best advertisers (and let’s just forget Microsoft’s efforts, which have been an utter failure so far).

But these two moves would change everything and totally explain why Facebook is working overtime to keep Google from importing anything. First, let’s look at what is at stake here:

Loic Le Meur did a little test with me a couple of weeks ago. He listed his Le Web conference on both Facebook and Upcoming.org. Here’s the Facebook listing. Here’s the Upcoming.org one.

The Facebook one can’t be seen if you don’t have a Facebook account. It’s NOT open to the public Web. Google’s spiders CAN NOT REACH IT.

He put both listings up at exactly the same time and did no invites, nothing. Just let people find these listings on their own.

The Facebook one is NOT available to the Web. It has 467 people who’ve accepted it. The Upcoming.org one IS available to Google and the Web. It has 101 people on it.

This is a fight for the Web. We all just crawled inside a box that locks Google out.

Don’t believe me?

Go to Google and do a search for “Le Web 08.”

Do you see a Facebook entry there? Nope. Google is locked out of the Web that soon will be owned by Microsoft. We will never get an open Web back if these two deals happen.

This has created HUGE value for Microsoft and has handed Steve Ballmer an Internet strategy which brings Microsoft from last place to first in less than a week.

Boom!

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.

Can the open public Web fight back? Yes. It’s called FriendFeed. Notice that FriendFeed replaces almost all of Facebook’s killer features with open ones that are open to Google’s search.

So, now, do you see why I’m so interested in FriendFeed? It’s our only hope to compete with Microsoft’s new “buy enough and keep it closed” search strategy.

Don’t think this matters? It sure does. Relevancy on Yahoo search will go through the roof when it has access to Facebook data and Google doesn’t. People will see that Yahoo has people search (something I’ve asked Google for for years) and Google doesn’t. That’ll turn the tide in advertising, and all that.

Brilliant move, if this all comes true.

I’ve SMS’d Mark Zuckerberg and asked him if he’s selling. I doubt he’ll answer. I hope he holds out for more than $20 billion. He just might get it.

UPDATE: Someone on Twitter (Soulhuntre) says that it doesn’t matter as long as HTTP keeps working. That’s just the point. Facebook BLOCKS HTTP if you aren’t logged into its system and it can remove you at a moment’s notice. @irinaslutsky (former employee of mine) was removed last week from Facebook. This is a scary company and if it gets in the hands of Microsoft will create a scary monopoly.

UPDATE2: thanks to XKCD for the cartoon. I love those cartoons.