There is no doubting the current influence of Facebook. Myspace has stagnated since Rupert Murdoch purchased the site nearly three years ago. According to Google Trends, Facebook overtook Myspace in terms of search volume.
Facebook, as currently positioned, will never become a long term tech powerhouse like Google. There is simply no way for a social networking company to make a healthy consistent profit as a standalone entity. The only viable endgame for a social networking company is to get bought out. Considering the fact that Facebook is now the undisputed social networking king, theres never been a better time to sell.
Today, Google announced a product called “Friend connect,” which allows any website to add social networking features. Friend connect is a lot like Ning, a Mark Andreessen backed startup allowing anyone to create their own social networking site.
As social networking gets more distributed, highly centralized sites like Facebook will become less relevant in the future. It reminds me a lot of the mid-90’s when centralized online services like AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy were the big players. The ISP model shifted from centralized to distributed, and all the big providers faded away.
Considering Facebook’s current status as the clear market leader, Facebook investors would be well served by selling the company soon. Given the failed Yahoo bid, Microsoft could use a bit of good news. I’m sure Steve Ballmer would be willing to overpay for Facebook in order to appear relevant in the Internet space. Given the Google Friend Connect announcement, it would be great timing for Microsoft.
Is a quick sale of Facebook a smart move? Probably.. Will it happen? Not if you believe Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He has consistently fought off the notion of selling the company. While there is certainly room for Facebook to grow further, many entrepreneurs have been stung by their own delusions of grandeur. Friendster, the pioneer of social networking, is not longer relevant.
The Yahoo-Microsoft merger talks are officially dead. The bigger Yahoo shareholders are rightfully pissed, the $33 per share offering price was more than fair. (YHOO was $19 before the merger rumors hit) Jerry Yang bluffed, and now he has nothing to show for it.
On some level, I can understand why the founder of Yahoo would not want to sell out to Microsoft. Typically, companies swallowed by Microsoft do not fair well. Microsoft didn’t see the Internet coming in the early 90’s, and MS has been playing catch up ever since. Its hard to see how MS could run Yahoo right.
What are Yahoo’s options now? The Newscorp talks fell through, and a Google merger would never make it through FTC scrutiny. Whatever happens, history will not treat the failed merger kindly.
I never thought I would see the month where I agree with both Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer, but that time has come. Ballmer characterized Google’s employee growth as “insane,” and commented about Google’s forays in just about every conceivable market.
“They’re going to double in a year. That’s insane, in my opinion,” Ballmer said Thursday during an address to students at Stanford University, near Palo Alto, Calif.
“I don’t really know that anybody’s proven that a random collection of people doing their own thing actually creates value.”
“They’re still really one business, and it’s a search and advertising business,” he said. Google’s other efforts have been “cute,” he said.
I totally agree with Ballmer about Google’s growth and their push in to other markets. It seems like Google is hiring anyone with a pulse these days, and trying to branch out in to every conceivable business activity. The growth of Google is simply unsustainable, and will lead to a dilution in the quality of their workforce and eventually the quality of their products.
Viacom is suing Youtube for one billion. While the damages sought are certainly inflated, the principle behind the suit is solid.
I think Youtube is a great site, but I never understood how such a blatant disregard for copyright could be tolerated by an operation that uses a centralized website for distribution.
Centralized P2P file sharing networks were pretty much dismantled a few years ago, so its hard to imagine how Youtube was tolerated, while actually storing the content on their servers.
Its funny, I get quite a few non-techie friends and family who joke about how the Youtube guys are now nearly billionaires, and why didn’t I think of that?
Putting user uploaded video on a website is a pretty straightforward idea. Its not rocket science, but nobody tried it on a large scale pre-Youtube because of copyright and adult content concerns. This lawsuit is validation of those potential copyright concerns.
I have to hand it to the Youtube founders. They were able to make a killing off an idea that is completely unoriginal, propelled by complete disregard for IP law. Its probably the most lucrative sale of an unoriginal web business since broadcast.com was sold by Mark Cuban.
Google has removed the tips “feature.” Here is a screenshot of my experience with tips last week.
I was searching for the webcalendar homepage to check on the status of my bug report, when Google decided to push its own calendar service.
Its great to see that Google hasn’t totally abandoned its founding principles, and it actually listens to its employees. There is something to be said for any company that actually takes action based on the opinions of its employees, because very few actually do.
That being said, in most cases if an employee publicly blogged in a critical manner about his/her employer’s practices, 9/10 they would be fired on the spot. In this case, it helps to be very well known, and have the clout of being the “Firefox lead.”
The PR department at Google would never want to see “Google fires Firefox Creator over Blog,” in the press. Google has fired people in the past, for blogging about Google.