Does Microsoft feel that they got royally shafted by Facebook’s Whatsapp acquisition?

In a talk at the Cloud Factory conference MS Ventures GM Rahul Sood highlighted the Whatsapp acquisition as the summit of this web generation’s landscape, the top of the bubble. While armed with solidly reasoned points, one specific statement stood out.

You know you’re in a bubble when you see people throwing money at dog-shit companies

The Whatsapp acquisition has been widely debated and several have tried to explain the ridiculous price tag, none the least sole investor Sequoia who raked in in more than bucket loads from the acquisition.

But one can but wonder whether Sood’s statement represented Microsoft feeling about it until now partner. The question on too few people’s lips: What does the Whatsapp acquisition mean for Skype and thus MSFT.

On a related note, is it time for the Richter Scales again?

Read Venturebeat’s complete recap of Rahud Sood’s talk here.


Will Facebook Take Over The Internet?

I actually wanted to wait some more days before getting overly critical editorial again, until a new writing opportunity on an existing and READ blog started, but the conversation at Web Worker Daily and my inability to shuttup made me reopen this blog today already.

Anne Zelenka worries that Facebook could take over the Internet after the introduction of the F8 platform. And as I’ve written here before MZ made a strategically very smart move.

But today, only some days of Facebook fun with friends later, I think that FaceBook also has dugg its own graveyard. Let me correct that : battlefield.
Due to the nature of Facebook, every day more applications go viral and application developers, sometimes even already existing platforms such as iLike get deeper in trouble. In trouble due to their popularity.
Over the weekend iLike sent out an email to Valley companies, asking for servers until they could buy new own servers, only because of the popularity of their FB application. Read more at pmarca (scroll down to #4 of the Cons).

Together with the very viral nature of F8 many smaller overnight built applications, such as iGift, SuperPoke or FoodFight, and their developers have gotten in trouble : F8 requires the developer to host its own application, on own servers.
Exactly this could turn FB in to a battlefield over the next months, years. Most developers won’t be able to afford the hosting costs for their quickly whipped up application and we will see VC money and a whole new economy around FB/F8.
Applications will be sold and with time the Big 5 (think Google, Yahoo!, MS, Amazon and Ebay) will become more present at F8, not only with their own applications (Amazon already has a book review app on FB), but also with acquisitions.
Dollars will flow towards developers and the Big 5 will fight to increase their influence on the F8 platform.

I see only 2 possibilities right at the moment:

  1. MZ is REALLY smart and sells out now. Not going to happen.
  2. Within 18 months FB is an economical, influence Internet warfield. And MZ will be the loser of the year. Due to FB’s growing dependence on external applications, applications then owned by the Big 5, a sell out strategy has become impossible for FaceBook.
    Any major investment in FaceBook would be too risky, because any other player could pull its own platform of applications from FaceBook.

Contrary to what Mark Andreesen wrote at pmarca [via Mathew Ingram], the platform will not win in latter case.

Drama scenario for my thesis were if FaceBook really has the money to buy omst platforms themselves. To pull a Myspace.
But I can’t find any revenue stream at Facebook, big enough to compete with the Big 5 and the likes of CBS (last.fm).

Update: Finally it seems other people start to think buy Facebook applications.


F8, Did Facebook Just Pull A Myspace

Yesterday’s excitement was huge, everyone seemed to like Mark Zuckerberg‘s presentation about the new platform Facebook.

The integration of multiple mini-sites was a major buzz and of course every Facebook member will love it to be able to show off all their web20-geekiness, without having to leave Facebook.
But if we put down the buzz and hype for some minutes, at least the time needed to read this entry, we can analyze a little better what happened last night. And before I pound my egg, let me tell you that from now on I consider Zuckerberg, AKA the guy who is rumored to have turned down a $1bn bid, a master strategist is.

Probably the creators of most implemented platforms are still after-buzzing and seeing vertical statistic lines instead of USD signs in their best nightmares, maybe even finally dream of dollars too.
Several of the implemented platforms are still without a real revenue stream and might now hope to finally generate some revenue.

Zuckerberg doesn’t need all 30 for Facebook. Zuckerberg isn’t interested in helping to develop their platform and user base. No, the only thing that counts is to continue the development of Facebook.
Facebook as a platform. Facebook as the new and geeky MySpace. Open to anyone and everything you want to, is available. A little like Virb, except… well, Zuckerberg is smarter.
Instead of building everything himself, he lets existing and rather popular services join the popularity and fame of Facebook. Smart and proven dev-team integrate their platform into Facebook.

One $mart dude, Mark. So, actually Zuckerberg just pulled a MySpace. But still a number smarter : without investment.

I wonder if that’s the reason wy last.fm isn’t part of the party, although they have announced that something was/is in the works.
There is no doubt that Facebook’s F8 will boost the popularity of many of the 30 integrated sites/services/applications, but what will their value be after 12 months if they had to live without facebook? Null, zilch, nada, noppes.
Suddenly X million of users would disappear from their [falsely inflated] user base, because they have never signed up for any of the services, but used them within Facebook, statistics would drop even faster than they will grow over the next weeks.

Nothing more or less than a master stroke of genius.
Zuckerberg, the master strategist.
Zuckerberg the MySpace 2.0, but also the founder of an unaffordable platform.
Zuckerberg, the creator of the post-Yahoo era?

And I don’t seem to be the only one who thinks this way, it seem that Tony shares shares the same view, but differently. :)