Wednesday, May 30, 2007

F8, the Facebook Platform

I know this blog has been silent for the past month now, and I apologize. Finals came and went, and I'm now back home in the Valley.

This post is going to be short, and probably not even very sweet, but I had to put something up about Facebook's new platform because it's so, so cool. More accurately, it shows that Facebook really gets it. The company understands the tech world, the power of third party developers, and, above all, that the best way to increase revenue is to grow the pie rather than the company's slice.

The platform has been compared to a variety of other product launches in tech history, but the one that comes to my mind - Windows - hasn't been mentioned much. I wrote a few months ago about how I believed MySpace was in trouble with their fluctuating stance on widgets. Well, Facebook's move could very well go down as the nail in the coffin.

The parallels to Windows (and the OS wars) are eerie. The most obvious is that, just as Microsoft did, Facebook is allowing developers to keep 100% of the revenue that third party Facebook applications generate. That alone is huge - instead of worrying whether you're going to be shut down (like widgets do on MySpace), you're sure that you'll profit off whatever value you create.

Facebook is striving to create an open and level playing field for application developers, and the platform is a monumental step in that direction. It'll be interesting to see which applications make the biggest splash...