November 02, 2007 |
Mark Zuckerberg, beware.
So some members of the press are saying, anyway. Just days ago, Google laid its social networking plans out on the proverbial table, which it has called OpenSocial, and in doing so received quite rapturous applause. OpenSocial delineated a future in which multiple entities, many of which have already been known to spar with one another in the highly competitive forum that is the technology world?s social sphere, battle for greater shares on a more level, more fair (for consumers) playing field. And so the company?s stock proceeded to surpass $700 on the NASDAQ. (Of course, the revelation of Mountain View?s mobile plans, highlighted in this piece of ours published yesterday, also had something to do with the phenomenal rise of its ticker value, but in my book both announcements are equally responsible for the boost.)
The press almost immediately thereafter proceeded to throw about speculative conclusions to the announcement, with most targeting Facebook, a name clearly absent OpenSocial?s initial lineup of participants and supporters, as a force many believe Google wishes to fight brazenly in public view. And just as it seemed the game could not get any more intriguing, both MySpace and Bebo ? one the largest network on the globe, the other the UK?s premier online establishment ? yesterday announced their intent to join in on the open API excitement. Obviously, we don?t need to tell you how alone Facebook thus appeared as a result of those developments.
But before we start to label Facebook a ?lone soldier? or stubborn shark swimming against the current, its worth considering one very possible outcome of the seeming isolation of the Zuckerberg operation: it?ll cave.
As in, cave in to the pressure sometime in the near future, and start to play by OpenSocial?s rules.
Yes, yes, I?ve read all about the rumors and allegations now circling the blogosphere that claim Google might not want Facebook to jump on the OpenSocial wagon, and didn?t even consult Zuckerberg & Co about the development of the open APIs prior to their announcement and all that crap. Yet, the way I see it, even if such bits are true, and Serge-and-Larry-and-gang really didn?t tip Facebook off beforehand, and purposely so, that really doesn?t matter. It?s not like Google?s going to bar Facebook from joining the OpenSocial club. (Which Facebook will inevitably have to do if it doesn?t want to be called a sore sport and shunned by lots and lots of influential folk.)
The whole purpose of OpenSocial is laid out as clearly as can be. Right in it?s frickin? title. Open. Open.
So, okay, for a few days, or weeks or whatever, Facebook will be all pissy and moany about Google playing dishonest hardball, but, hey, that?s business, right? Everyone?s got their own interests at heart, and while Facebook can argue it wasn?t treated very fairly yesterday, Google can justifiably say: ?Tough shit. We gotta do what we gotta do.? Eventually, we?ll see Zuckerberg carry his 15-billion-dollar ego over to Google?s door, ring the bell, and ask, ?May we come in?? And Google will be all too delighted to grant entry.
Really, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, and everyone with an OpenSocial ticket is moving along at their own relatively pace on the river of progress (by that time, I am certain Facebook will have made itself a semi-proud member), the only entity I can imagine will be feeling left out and throwing a major hissy fit is someone at Microsoft by the name of Steve Ballmer.