Monday, August 24, 2009

"It's myspace now, facebook" - Myspace aquisition of iLike

Last week a curious thing happened. Newscorp-owned Myspace aquired social music application iLike. In itself this isn't too newsworthy, until you factor in that iLike is not only facebooks default music player but also one of their most trafficked applications, then things get very interesting.

The two points this incident raises is a) the future viability of facebook's application platform and b) the implications of myspace basically owning a large chunk of that platform.

Future viability of facebook's application platform

facebook is well within their legal rights to shutdown iLike in two ways. Either wiping it off the platform overnight in one king hit, execution style. Or cutting it off incrementally, effectively strangeling it out of existence by killing its visibility and usability through the platform over time.

Here's the kicker though. If facebook were to do something like the above, what sort of message is it sending out to the thousands of application developers on the platform who have poured their own money, time and resources into their own app's, hoping for a return? The message I would get is this - 'If you get too big (thus profitable), we'll either re-create you as a facebook owned app, or simply kill you off our platform one way or another - because we can'.

Bottom line - if they did kill off iLike now, they would effectively be killing off the trust of all third party facebook app developers, trust they desperately need to keep in check if facebook is to become the next google, which increasingly looks more and more plausible.

Implications of myspace owning one of the biggest applications on facebook

Rupert has played his cards well on this one. Now newscorp has a (floodgate sized) backdoor into its main rival and more importantly, its users. As explained above, I can't see that door closing anytime soon, so what is newscorp going to be able to acheive through this coup?

i) A constant finger on facebook's pulse - they now have a legitimate and qualified reason to pour alot of money into analyzing how facebook platform architecture works, as they are inside it.

ii) User data - With an app the size of iLike now under their control, they have access to deep analytics of the app's userbase. Which is effectively a snapshot of facebook's userbase. Data is key in social networking. By being able to combine their own myspace data and now a relatively solid grasp of facebooks user data they will be far more informed on trends than they have been previously.

iii) Links - Myspace can now pull users from facebook through to myspace via iLike. If a facebook user finds a song they like through iLike and then wants to buy it, how will they do that? Why, through myspace music of course.... enough said.

Will facebook kill iLike and thus its credibility?

Will myspace use this opportunity as the starting block for a much needed renaissance?

Fascinating times lie ahead for all us social media/networking fanboys in seeing how this one pans out.

For all those who just have a fleeting interest in this space, hopefully this gives you some watercooler ammo for the coming week.

No comments:

Post a Comment