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Microsoft Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet

Three Reasons Microsoft Paid So 'Little' For Facebook 155

Posted by Zonk
from the i-guess-it's-all-relative dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's $240 million investment is much smaller than the rumored $750 million that Facebook sought. Why the difference? Wired Epicenter's Terrence Russell analyzes the deal, and points out three good reasons why Microsoft got a 'bargain'. 'Microsoft Only Needs an Entrenched Position - Ballmer's plan to acquire 100 startups in 5 years is still sketchy, but we got the point -- Microsoft wants momentum. If the company is to go forward as planned then taking a small, strategic piece of Facebook makes sense. Microsoft's financial interests in Facebook's ad platform already exist, so it only makes sense to strengthen that tie as the hype builds.'"
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Three Reasons Microsoft Paid So 'Little' For Facebook

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  • Smart Move? Maybe... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous&yahoo,com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:34PM (#21117195) Homepage Journal
    This was more sneaky than some people think. They only had to spend $240 million to create such a stratospheric valuation that no one else would be stupid enough to buy at that price.

    If people say "Facebook's the flavor of the month and it's never going to warrant a $15 billion value because the next flavor of the month will come along and steal its thunder," then Microsoft wins because Facebook can never find other investors at that valuation. That creates a cascade effect of investor avoidance, forcing Facebook's actual value down to where it's reasonable and Microsoft can snatch it up at a bargain.

    If, on the other hand, people drink the Kool Aid and start pumping up the price of Facebook, Microsoft can sell out its interest at a profit.

    I'm thinking the answer is the first possibility... they put Facebook's value at $15 billion to discourage others from investing in Facebook and make Facebook beholden to them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      Well, if they do THAT, then I think Google's owners will DEFINITELY buy F/B at $500MM, JUST to make sure they have controlling interest. Then, they even FURTHER drive down the valuation, then buy out mshaft's share.

      Y/N/M?
    • by dsginter (104154) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:48PM (#21117373)
      Microsoft needs to get Silverlight out there. $240 million to Facebook is the cheapest method of getting hundreds of millions to install and use it, willingly.
      • by cyberjessy (444290) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:28PM (#21118731) Homepage
        You are probably right. Microsoft should be worried that if Flash actually went Open (as in real open), innovative companies would start delivering really compelling, desktop-grade applications over the browser. There would be nothing stopping Google from putting up a better Microsoft Office. Or countless other innovative companies from killing the Windows platform.

        Well .... if Flash went open that is. I have a feeling it might happen soon.
        • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:21PM (#21120493)

          There would be nothing stopping Google from putting up a better Microsoft Office.

          That makes no sense. There are five things stopping Google from just throwing out a better Office.

          1. The amount of sheer work involved. Microsoft Office has been developing for well over a decade now, and even just cloning it would take a huge amount of labor and financial investment. And then making it actually better than Microsoft takes even more time, planning, strategizing, and investment. Google is big, but they have bought so many companies and have so many projects going I question whether they would have the manpower for such an investment.
          2. Infrastructure is stopping Google. Animations, eye candy, processing power... all of those are subpar when you are talking about the Internet. Yes, you have flash which looks good, but the downloading of the swf files embeded in the pages can be quite slow, and it would get even slower if lots of people started using it (unless Google made some more monstrous server farms, and that would be another huge economic investment). Some things are simply resource intensive enough that they are just better done on the desktop. (And yes, wordprocessing seems simple, but when you start packing in lots and lots of features, animations, etc, you generate a large memory and resource footprint)
          3. Security is stopping Google. Corporations are not going to start editing their sensative files over the Internet. They aren't going to transmit that data all over the web, and they aren't going to store it on Google's servers. They just won't, regardless of whether encryption is used. It will be viewed as too big a risk.
          4. Entrenchment is stopping Google. Microsoft Office is entrenched. I'm not just talking about users being comfortable and used to it (and therefore not wanting to change), I'm talking about being entrenched corporately. Most corporations have built innumerable applications that integrate and work with office, and you can't just rip out one suite and replace it with another without causing the majority of enterprise processes and applications to break. Very few corporations are going to be willing to switch unless Google somehow comes up with some undeniable, overwhelming reason that they must use the Google product. And I can't think of any scenario that would fit that bill (this very issue, btw, is why Open Office is not, and probably never will be, adopted at the corporate level).
          5. Lack of financial gain is therefore stopping Google. Unless Google can think of ways to overcome all of these issues, they are not going to recoup their investment (and make no mistake, developing an Internet Office application that is better than MS Office is an incredibly large investment). There are many other areas less dominated by competitors where the pickings are easier and the return on investment is higher. They may make simple spreadsheet apps that may drive a few private users to their site (and generate some advertising dollars from the extra traffic), but trying to truly trying to take dominance from Microsoft in the Office arena simply isn't going to be in their gameplan. It just isn't worth it.

          Or countless other innovative companies from killing the Windows platform.

          This is even less likely to be true than what you said about Google and Office. How is having access to an open version of Flash going to kill the Windows platform? Because you are talking about Flash, that implies that you are talking about web development. The Windows Platform is an operating system. Therefore you are attempting to make the claim that open Flash will allow a third party company (which, by the way, will almost certainly have less manpower and money than Microsoft) to develop some sort of web OS that will render a mature, entrenched desktop OS like Windows obsolete. Actually, lets leave out the mature and entrenched parts of the argument for a moment (although they alone are enough to kil

          • by Almahtar (991773)

            How is having access to an open version of Flash going to kill the Windows platform? Because you are talking about Flash, that implies that you are talking about web development. The Windows Platform is an operating system. Therefore you are attempting to make the claim that open Flash will allow a third party company (which, by the way, will almost certainly have less manpower and money than Microsoft) to develop some sort of web OS that will render a mature, entrenched desktop OS like Windows obsolete.

            You got most of the way there, but missed it at the end. Who needs a web OS when you can run a flash-based app from any OS you want? Opening Flash gives platforms without Flash the opportunity to make their own ports, which assures widest user base. If it was open it'd also give the assurance that lock-in and corporate bullyism aren't a worry, and it would mean that people could, if they chose, write for Flash using 3rd party non-adobe tools. That would make it VERY attractive to developers.

            As Micros [flamingmailbox.com]

        • Before last month, my first chance to try out Actionscript 3, I would have thought that big, feature rich, complex apps would be impossible (or rather, run like ass) due to speed limitations of Actionscript. This benchmark [oddhammer.com] very accurately mirrors what I've seen with AS3: its overall performance whips the pants off of Javascript and previous versions of Actionscript, and in many cases hugs Java pretty closely or even beats it (by a small amount). This is after how many years of JVM optimizations and improv
      • by pimpimpim (811140)
        Yes, you are the 100% winner of the day. Silverlight needs a platform to be used on, and it needs to be big and unavoidable. Otherwise, who will bother? Putting it on the MSN news site or for MSN promotional videos won't likely help widespread use. People would just not look at those pages but instead go to alternatives that work.

        By the way, I actually decided to install Silverlight on my XP machine with 512 MB of RAM and a VIA CPU, getting a 'Silverlight is not installable on your PC' error. And no reaso

    • by iced_tea (588173) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:11PM (#21117657) Journal

      Balmer: $750 million dollars?? ****Agrrrrahhahahhahahah***** (throws chair)

      Facebook: Ok $240 million could do nicely as well.
      • Ballmer: $240 million, it's a deal, will you join me in a celebratory monkey dance. Wwoooo!!!!! wwoooo!!!! wwwooooo!!!! I LOVE FACEBOOK!!! woooo!!! woooo!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by neoform (551705)
      Err.. as soon as the value drops down, people will grab it up. I seriously doubt overpaying for a slice of the pie is somehow going to make people *less* interested in facebook.
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        More importantly, M$ investors viewpoint, throwing away $240 million on some whacked business strategy. M$ investors have just one question to ask, how much will that $240 million make this financial year, will it generate any revenue at all or it is some ego driven, game playing stunt with other peoples money.

        Ballmer's, "we sold at a loss yesterday, were selling at a loss today, we will continue to sell at a loss in the future, because we are rich and can afford to do so", is starting to were pretty thin

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bball99 (232214)
      what's Facebook? :-)
    • then Microsoft wins because Facebook can never find other investors at that valuation. That creates a cascade effect of investor avoidance, forcing Facebook's actual value down to where it's reasonable and Microsoft can snatch it up at a bargain.

      This is such a lame theory, it's not even wrong. Explain to me why these other investors -- who you say are turned off by FB's high valuation -- won't become interested again when the valuation falls?

      And exactly what do you mean when you say "forcing Facebook

    • If people say "Facebook's the flavor of the month and it's never going to warrant a $15 billion value because the next flavor of the month will come along and steal its thunder," then Microsoft wins because Facebook can never find other investors at that valuation. That creates a cascade effect of investor avoidance, forcing Facebook's actual value down to where it's reasonable and Microsoft can snatch it up at a bargain.

      Actually if I could I'd be tempted to invest in Facebook. MS only got a 1.6% stak

  • ..., sell high.

    Simple really.

    • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:50PM (#21117399) Journal
      Buy low? I figured out who all you slashdot people are. Mr. Gates, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Trump, Mr. Carmak...

      $240,000,000 and you folks say that's a bargain? If I had $240,000,000 I sure wouldn't blow it on a website! I'd blow it on fast cars and expensive booze and hookers. Hell, I'd stick it in the bank at 5% interest and blow the $12,000,000 interest on fast cars and expensive booze and hookers every single year and leave the whole $240,000,000 to my kids. Come to think of it, if I had that kind of money I wouldn't NEED hookers!

      I might even buy an iPhone, too. ;)

      -mcgrew
      • This money doesn't belong to the execs of Microsoft. It belongs to the shareholders of MSFT. Corvettes don't appreciate and don't pay dividends, so unless every shareholder gets to take it for a spin, they can't spend that money on sports cars.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Facebook? I'm gonna make my own! With hookers! And blackjack!
      • by stor (146442)
        Ob link...

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95fNgx8aCS8 [youtube.com]

        -Stor
      • by mgblst (80109)
        What is the deal with leaving money to the kids. Does anybody really believe that they are doing there kids a favor by leaving all this money to them? "Yes, I want my kids to be spoiled brats, just like Paris, etc... That is my big dream."
    • During the early 90's I did alot of selling high, I can't recommend it. I sold all my Microsoft stock at $36 while listening to Huey Lewis wearing a rain slicker and doing lines off the back of the hooker I just killed.

      -Bateman

      p.s. At least I got a reservation at Dorsia.
  • Facebook is close to reaching "jumped the shark" status. I worry that Microsoft dumped a ton of cash into Facebook just like News Corp did for MySpace. As News Corp ramped up ads on the MySpace platform, people defected in droves to Facebook. What happens if history repeats themselves? That's right. People end up on Twitter (owned by Google), and Google didn't have to shell out a quarter of a billion dollars in the end.
    • Have to correct myself. Twitter is not owned by Google. But the theory still holds true. There's no "stickyness" (god I hate that word) with social networking sites. Everyone can pick up and move to the next one, therefore their valuation is a snapshot of the estimated value of their membership at that point.
      • by geddes (533463) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:58PM (#21117497)
        I think you are wrong about that. Social networking sites have a huge amount of "stickyness" because of the network. In the end, the value of a social networking site to the user is the size of the network. Social Networks are tricky things, there is no way that me and all of my facebook friends will collectively decide that facebook isn't doing it anymore and we'll move to twitter. For example, I signed up for twitter cause the concept and feature set seemed cool, but I never went back after more than two times because I only had two friends on it. On the other hand, I think maybe one example of a social networking app falling is AOL Instant Messenger. AIM used to be the way everyone I knew IMed. around 1998 it exploded. However, in the past two years I have noticed that more and more of my friends are depending on GChat, and aren't signing on to IM anymore. About 25% of my friends now have abandoned AIM and moved onto GChat. I think the two reasons this happened are 1) the horribly bloated AIM software that is just unpleasent to use. 2) GChat sort of snuck in as an automatically activated feature of GMail and people started seeing their friends just showing up on their list. Remarkably though, AIM still, after 9 years, has three quarters of my IM contacts.
        • Personally, I use Facebook, and know roughly 200 people who are "friends" with me through the service. A fair majority have shared their displeasure at Facebook slowly eroding into a MySpace equivalent with the drivel applications everyone pushes.

          From a business perspective, the company I consult/work for has over 500 employees. Almost all have AIM (some have Microsoft messenger, some have Yahoo) and most of us use Trillian (as it's lightweight and integrates with several different IM networks).

          Don't tr

          • If your friends are complaining that Facebook is being ruined by the applications, they only have their own friends to blame for that. The only profiles you can generally see are your own friends and people in your network. If the apps are ruining your Facebook experience, stop going to people's profiles who overload on apps? Stop becoming friends with so many people that you're constantly getting app invites? I have about 50 friends and I'm barely ever bothered by the new applications. Most of the tim
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by dsanfte (443781)

              If your friends are complaining that Facebook is being ruined by the applications, they only have their own friends to blame for that.


              That's right, blame the users.
      • by ergo98 (9391)

        There's no "stickyness" (god I hate that word) with social networking sites

        ???

        Social networking sites are pretty much the perfect example of stickiness...
        • As individuals, yes. But as groups of people interacting, no. If a group of "friends" says, "Hey, this new networking site popped up, let's try it out" and people slowly migrate, there's nothing to stop people from leaving the old site.

          Social networking sites are easy. Let people join, let them interconnect with each other, and then let them interact with each other. The rest is just code.

    • Facebook has ALREADY jumped the shark, just as your subject claims. It all happened when they opened their doors to anyone and everyone. While I'm a conscientious objector to social networking sites (waste of time), I was in the middle of my college education when Facebook hit the scene. Facebook was the shit. Everyone in college used it as it was a way for people to communicate with others that were on campus, or long lost high school friends. It was easy to send out party notices and great for postin
  • Title is misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShiningSomething (1097589) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:37PM (#21117235)
    No-one in TFA is claiming that Microsoft should have paid more for the 1.6% share it bought. It's suggested that it could've sticked to the same overall valuation and paid $750 million for a 5% stake. It's still the same price, it's just that they bought too little. And that seems a fair question that does not deserve the scare quotes.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @05:03PM (#21119275)
      I maintain that they didn't buy the share of the company, they bought the advertising rights and the ability to push silverlight. The advertising lets them get more people to push advertisements through them instead/in addition to google. If they do nothing but break even on all the publishing on the site, $250 million is a bargain for the kind of exposure they'll be getting.
  • Plans... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:38PM (#21117239)
    Ballmer's plan to acquire 100 startups in 5 years is still sketchy

    What kind of a plan is that? No wonder Microsoft is losing its way.

    Compare and contrast with the business plan of Steve Jobs, which I think can be summed up as "make great products"...
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      lets compare, microsoft make great products (Visual Studio, Sql Server, Office, Windows XP, Xbox, Windows Mobile, .NET, etc) AND is buying 100 startups in 5 years... hmmm, i don't think it's losing its way.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by MightyMartian (840721)
        Go back to Redmond, you pathetic shill.
      • I notice that Vista isn't on your list. I agree that it shouldn't be. When I read this story I couldn't get rid an image of a little kid grabbing at a bunch of butterflies and not catching any because he's not focused on any particular one.

        Look, Microsoft seems to be focusing on branching out, trying to reclaim more of the search market and pushing silverlight hard. While this is definitely a good thing, what isn't a good thing is when said company neglects their core business. Windows IS that core
        • by oliderid (710055)
          Mass migration from the Windows plateform is a long term scenario.

          A bigger threat to their revenues is the competition around Microsoft Office. If there is no incompatible format such as .doc or xls what is be the real advantage of using Microsoft Word instead of something else ...For free?

          I do think that the competition isn't ready yet to win over Ms Word, Excel or Powerpoint (and I do use OpenOffice because my latop has only MS word installed and I don't need to buy the whole MS office suite). Whatever yo
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      Maybe they think "100 new companies" is like "100 new hookers". Think "Pump n' Dump" (pick the pumps and dumps of your choice, device, action or biomatter...)
    • Re:Plans... (Score:4, Informative)

      by lantastik (877247) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:53PM (#21118241)
      Compare and contrast with the business plan of Steve Jobs, which I think can be summed up as "make great products"...

      Since when? I was always under the impression it was "sell over priced gadgets to trend whores", or "hire a great marketing dept".
    • "Ballmer's plan to acquire 100 startups in 5 years is still sketchy"

      What kind of a plan is that? No wonder Microsoft is losing its way. Compare and contrast with the business plan of Steve Jobs, which I think can be summed up as "make great products"...


      Microsoft has been buying things for decades and has about 90% marketshare. Apple has made great products for decades and has around 5% marketshare. Apple has had great success with new products in the past (Apple II, Mac) only to eventually lose the
  • I'm reminded of an editorial comic where someone creates a personal website for his cat and gets 10 million dollars in investment because he's visionary -- in effect, it's a parody of the .com bubble -- which Microsoft will fund.

    I need to get cracking if I'm to get my $240 million...

    • by gbulmash (688770) *
      Yeah, the guys who registered facewiki, facecatalog, facepedia, and bacefook are all sittin' pretty now!
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      I need to get cracking if I'm to get my $240 million...

      Damn, I need to update my blagh! [mcgrew.info]

      -mcgrew
  • facebook my ass (Score:1, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    I was on facebook for kicks and I quickly realized it's full of little kids and their horrible grammar. In every group I joined [from singles groups to music/piano player groups] there was a continual barrage of horribly misspelled postings, lots of retarded "lols" and all that jazz. Nobody takes any of the serious chatter serious, and the fun chatter is just asinine like "join this group to keep facebook alive!" or whatever.

    Frankly, if you're not a moron, or some attention whoring pre-schooler, I don't s
    • by cyphercell (843398) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:57PM (#21117493) Homepage Journal
      hey, your not "Tom" as in "Tom" from Myspace are you?
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Elendil (11919)
      > there was a continual barrage of horribly misspelled postings, lots of retarded "lols" and all that jazz

      So you came back to ./ instead? Your logic escapes me.
    • Facebook is an amazing way to keep track of all of the people that I see at college. I take a class with someone, then never have a class with them again. But I can still keep up with how they're doing, and get a hold of them if I need to ask them about something that they're good at. It's much less creepy than, "Can I have your phone number?" too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        Facebook is an amazing way to keep track of all of the people that I see at college. I take a class with someone, then never have a class with them again. But I can still keep up with how they're doing, and get a hold of them if I need to ask them about something that they're good at. It's much less creepy than, "Can I have your phone number?" too.


        No, it's not less creepy.
    • by hodet (620484)
      I agree that there is a tonne of crap on facebook that is stupid. When I see someone with 496 friends I have to laugh. On the other hand its a good site for keeping in touch with your circle of friends and co-workers and for getting in touch with long lost friends. I generally ignore all application requests and silly shit. But for keeping in touch it does what it does very well.

      Example: My wife signed up a few weeks ago because she saw that I had been talking to old high school friends. Within days

      • Re:facebook my ass (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Oliver Defacszio (550941) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:23PM (#21118653)
        Here's my question, and it's sincere, because I'm not a Facebook member:

        Why is any of that desirable? Honestly. I graduated from high-school in 1993, and I have a current e-mail address and phone number for the dozen-or-so people who still matter to me from those days. When we move, change contact information, or whatever, we send our little group a quick notification, and life moves on. Why on Earth would I want to be contacted out of the blue fifteen years later by someone who probably hasn't crossed my mind since graduation night (or insert whatever non-school equivalent event suits your purpose)?

        An example: my sister is a member. Perhaps six months ago, one of my first real girlfriends from the ninth grade in 1989 sent her a message asking how to find me on Facebook, so that we could catch up. Catch up with what? We haven't spoken in *at least* ten years, and she's apparently churned out a few kids in her mining-town trailer park about a thousand miles from here. We're total strangers by this point with utterly nothing in common, and yet people find it scintillating to imagine this kind of scenario through the magic of Facebook? "So, how have the last ten years of your life been? Oh, fifty pounds you've put on... isn't that something? Four kids? Fantastic." Is that what they call a "reconnection?" No thanks.

        Maybe I'm just not much of a sentimental, but if a friendship hasn't stood the tests of time organically, why should I suddenly be excited to drag the corpse up out of its well-deserved grave with Facebook? Some of my closest friends live hundreds of miles away, yet we stay close because of things in common and, you know, other friendship qualities. The most important of these is a willingness to put a little, tiny bit of work into actually being a friend. Maybe that means visiting every couple years, or maybe it's even something as small as keeping my phone number and e-mail information written down somewhere and using either or both from time to time. I do those things for them. Relationships that don't have those qualities are about the last things I want to pursue, and Facebook seems to make it way too easy to be a "friend" without being a friend.
        • This.

          I've "met" a half dozen people from my high school days. And beyond the initial "hey!" messages on Facebook we haven't spoken or written a word since. We weren't really friends then, and we're not now. Just because we went through the same schools and happen to know each others names and faces, doesn't make us "friends."

          And the couple of friends I did make in college and since, I'm in touch with outside of "the net." If I want to know what my friends are up to I just call them and drop by.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Your.Master (1088569)
          While you have a point, it's not always just so easy to keep in touch with people you care about -- and this is especially so when your lost high school friends fell out of touch a couple of years ago or so instead of a decade ago.

          There was no post-secondary school anywhere near my hometown. We all scattered and we all moved and so we all fell out of touch at once. Our old phone numbers were no longer valid (those few with cellphones got a number local to their new locale). Too many of them had their ema
        • Perhaps six months ago, one of my first real girlfriends from the ninth grade in 1989 sent her a message asking how to find me on Facebook, so that we could catch up. Catch up with what? .... We're total strangers by this point with utterly nothing in common, and yet people find it scintillating to imagine this kind of scenario through the magic of Facebook?

          Only when you go beyond the cognitive dissonance involved in equating "Why should I keep up with my high-school friends?" with "Why should I contact

        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          Your post motivated me to 'modify relationship' and make you my newest Slashdot friend.

          We don't know each other very well yet, so I'll start at the beginning. In early 1962 an egg was fertilized and later that same year some masked guy in a white uniform slapped me in the face (I can't remember if I came out backwards or if that was the origin of the Dangerfield joke).

          [...]

          I joined Slashdot.

          What's new with you these days?

          Paul
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Well, some of us had hot girlfriends, who we really would like to meet again. So now there is a quick and easy way to find out which ones are married, have boyfriends without having to ring them up every couple of months.

          So because you can think of one person who you don't want to get in contact with, therefore you cannot understand that other people might have known someone they would like to get in contact with? Are you really that stupid. I myself have a load of friends who I don't contact very much anym
        • by hodet (620484)
          Why is any of that desirable?

          There is no answer that could be of any value to you. Your mind is made up based on your own view that if a relationship hasn't stood the test of time its no longer of any value to go there again.

          But, I'll bite. There are millions of reasons that people get separated and I certainly will not get into this specific example. Not all past relationships have ended do to boredom or differences of personality or other negative things like breakups with past girlfriends. Some

        • it is mainly for people who graduated from high school pre 1990 and early 90s. the email wasnt all that established back then, and not only that, many email services that came up during the era do not still stand.
    • Re:facebook my ass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lb746 (721699) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:24PM (#21117845)
      I don't understand people that post comments like this. You joined facebook, then went off to join music/piano player groups on there. Needless to say facebook doesn't work for people looking to meet 42,000 new friends that may or may not be real. That's what myspace is great at. I'm a new musician in a new city, I want to find other bands/muscians/etc, i would go to myspace and see who has a half billion friends and realize they spend more time on myfacespace then playing music, so join them and play music together. Problem solved.

      As for Facebook, if you join it, to socialize with your friends, it's completely different. Make an account, find people you actually know on it, add them as friends and login maybe once a week or so. Suddenly your actually able to keep up to date on those 10-15 people without having to call them weekly to find out whats going on. Sure some people freak out about this vast amount of stuff I can find out that your doing, but I only know about it because you posted it on there for the world to see.

      I rarely join the groups on facebook, and when I do, I do so with a grain of salt realizing a digital group like that that is rather pointless in the first place. However the ability to add a study group or other real life type groups and post discussions, share meeting times and plans, as well as see everyones class schedule on there. That's what makes facebook useful.

      This is why we need to stop putting myspace and facebook into the same group. They really aren't as similar as people keep saying they are. Facebook is for people already with friends that want to keep in touch easier, MySpace is a network for meeting new people and getting new connections.
      • by jmkaza (173878)
        I agree, almost. I got pretty entrenched in MySpace before Facebook opened up to non-collegiates, and learned early on (thanks to a psycho ex girlfriend creating a fake profile) to only allow friends I knew in real life. Since then it's been a great way to keep track of a ton of people I'd have probably lost touch with without it. Facebook may be better suited, I don't know, I've only recently started using it, but Myspace works great.
    • I was on facebook for kicks and I quickly realized it's full of little kids and their horrible grammar. In every group I joined [from singles groups to music/piano player groups] there was a continual barrage of horribly misspelled postings, lots of retarded "lols" and all that jazz.
      So you came back to /. ?
    • I don't see why people would care about it.

      The demographics of Facebook has changed quite dramatically in the past few months. I have met a large number of people with whom I have lost touch over the years, people I wouldn't drive many hours to go visit with for a 3 hours "reunion", but I'd gladly swap 30 second synopses of the 20 years since our last conversation. Facebook is pretty cool for that. The fact that you didn't find groups that you can associate with either means that you were there a lo

    • I was on facebook for kicks and I quickly realized it's full of little kids and their horrible grammar.

      Yeah I know. It's terrible isn't it? MySpace and Slashdot are so much better...oh, wait...

      Nobody takes any of the serious chatter serious, and the fun chatter is just asinine

      Thanks for the chuckle. I always get a kick out of people who criticise the grammar of posts in an online forum and make mistakes themselves, especially when they're given ample opportunity to proofread their postings as can be done
      • by WebCowboy (196209)
        *sigh* I should proofread better when I make fun of people not proofreading...

        I mean Nobody takes any of the serious chatter serious, and the fun chatter is just asinine

        Seriously folks I'm not a grammar-nazi. I am a grammar-nazi nazi, so don't go criticising my grammar now m'kay? ;-)
  • This is just a bribe to make sure Facebook does not use any portable technology or make it easy for competition to write applications/search on top of Facebook. Like the money it paid to large domain registrars to get them to switch away from Apache.
  • Microsoft (Score:5, Funny)

    by king-manic (409855) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:58PM (#21117507)
    Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

    Microsoft corollary: Unless it's Microsoft then never ascribed to incompetence or bad management what can adequately explained by pure unrelenting evil.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:01PM (#21117545) Journal
    Man #1 - MS wants to buy 100 startups? Maybe they will buy a couple that can show them how an OS is supposed to work?

    Man #2 - Redacted, turned out to actually be a woman

    Man #3 - Wasn't this the MS business plan since way back in the early 90s? This is news?

    Man #4 - (claiming to be spouse of man #2) Is there really 100 startups worth buying? I thought the venture capitalists were becoming a bit put off on the whole tech thing?

    Man #5 - (throws a chair) MS will buy 100 startups if they have to secretly pay those companies to start up... MS will kill the competition in the buying startups sector!!

    Man #6 - Will they support iTunes?

    Man #7 - (dubiously wearing a /. shirt) Imagine a beawolf cluster of 100 companies........

    Man #8 - Shouts "Sorry, have to run and go start a company......"

    Seriously, 100 startups? Why not 49? Why not 'as many as it takes'... what is the deal with 100? Microsoft begins with an M, why not 1000 startups?
  • 240 million should be more then enough to 1) make sure they only us M$ software 2) Cause mass confusion. reducing company productivity employee satisfaction and management decision making. (this reduces value and allows a higher percentage to be purchased for less in 1 year) 3) at some later date make the site slightly incompatible with competing products. 4) start charging users to essentially view M$ ads
  • What the hell is that article talking about? He states it as if MS didn't buy into that junk about a $15Billion valuation.

    But, that's exactly what they did do. They paid $250Million for a 1.6% stake in the company. That means it values the whole company at $15.6Billion.

    If they had negotiated it down, and got maybe 20% of the company for $500M. Then, they wouldn't have bought into the valuation.. that would have said it's worth $2.5B.

    But, the math says MS thinks Facebook is worth $15Billion. I thi
    • Facebook has always overvalued itself, but Microsoft wanted to get enough of a stake that they'd be able to keep the advertising contract for the foreseeable future. Plus, they'll be able to push silverlight through the affluent population of facebook. When you factor in the value of those two things, $250 million is nothing.
  • A significant vote at stockholder meetings?

    To me 1.6% does not signify any 'controlling' percentage, maybe gadfly status...
  • So... Who's with me!!!

     
  • Well, we know how this will go. First M$ invests in them, and they start to suck. G'bye Facebook!
  • by Mike Morgan (9565) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:26PM (#21118703)
    Does anyone remember 8 years ago during United States v. Microsoft [wikipedia.org] when Microsoft proclaimed how innovative they were and how any interference from the government would stifle their innovation? They actually had a website to this effect, I forget the URL.
          I think a perfect settlement would have been for Microsoft to continue business as normal and innovate all they want, the only restriction being that they not be allowed to buy any more companies. If they are this magnificent well of innovation and ideas, go ahead, show us. 8 years later, with effectively no penalties actually imposed on this company, the best they come up with is a plan to buy 100 web companies in the next 5 years.

    What innovations have we had from Microsoft in the last 8 years?

    Prior to that we have web based email (HotMail), web browsers, ...

    </sarcasm> </rant> </bloodpressure>
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by miffo.swe (547642)
      Microsoft has a bad management issue where money is king and the product just a means to an end. It could just as well be vacuum cleaners they sold. It has never been about innovation and will probably never be. Unlike IBM Microsoft has absolutely nothing to stand on other than their applications barrier to entry. Their research centers is a complete joke where the occasional good stuff very rarely gets into any production. If something goes into production they mess it up like with winfs. They are looking
  • Just as Facebook and Myspace we have had an enormous community here in sweden called Lunarstorm. At the beginning it was like everyone on the net went there but slowly as the kidz started to come people went away doing other more grown up stuff. It wasnt fun anymore when you had 30 people a day only out to make connections for bragging points or attention whores that idd anything to get many hits on their page. In Sweden grownups arent there anymore, just kids with not much money to spend. Not someplace i
  • by Socguy (933973) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:30PM (#21118775)
    I was just reading the Globe and Mail, Canada's most prestigious newspaper, and they had a slightly different take. Facebook was in the drivers seat and forced Microsoft to pay more for less. Google didn't need Facebook, but Microsoft did. http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071024.wmicrosoftstaff1024/BNStory/Business/home [reportonbusiness.com]
  • Surely ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2 AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:32PM (#21118805) Homepage
    that money would've been much better spent in making their products as good as/better than the competitions to give consumers more incentive to not defect.
  • tomorrow ? and they can do it too.
  • by elballio (305175) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @08:05PM (#21121863)
    then I could tell all my friends to come on MyFace

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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