On July 6, 2011, Facebook, the leader of the social networking world announced a new, unprecedented upgrade to its existing framework. In a deal with Skype, which is owned by long-time Facebook investor Microsoft, Facebook aims to take the social network to new heights through video chat.
Many people have posited that the collaboration between Facebook and Skype is more than a simple investor-helping-out-its-investment relationship. Rather, with the launch of Google+ less than a week before the Facebook/Skype deal surfaced, it seems like a new war has begun to capture the feint hearts of the internet public.
These Battle Lines Are Not So New
Microsoft was an early investor in Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, with a relationship that dates back to 2007. While Microsoft can and still may complete with Facebook in the future, this current collaboration seems to smack of the “enemy of my enemy” maxim.
Microsoft’s battle with Google is long documented. Remember Bing? Launched in 2009, it is Google’s direct competitor. Though it has made gains in the industry, Google’s dominance is still apparent and marketers continue to covet the top of their elusive rankings. This leaves Microsoft in the position of catch-up and their May 2011 acquisition of Skype seems to offer an opportunity to do just that.
Follow the Money Trail
Advertising dollars and people’s attention spans are short, which is why Google has sought to expand to social networking in the first place. Most internet marketers will agree that the old rules of advertising are dying fast as new, interactive and social network-based ads are drawing more hits.
The collaboration between Facebook and Skype positions most people already involved with the latter network to expand their base to Facebook’s 700+ million users. This subsequently gives advertisers an even greater market to reach and Facebook a reason to gloat since it has taken over the only truly unique aspect of as Google+, which is still in its infancy.
The War Continues
This is not to say that Google should be discounted completely from this equation, however. The fact that Facebook felt the need to respond to the Google+ launch in the first place shows that, at least inwardly, they may be sweating a bit.
In the hours following the Facebook/Skype announcement, the blogosphere already lit up with predictions about who is the new loser in all of this. Is Facebook the new MySpace? Or is Google the new Microsoft?
Either way, there is still a lot of information yet to filter in, and there are a lot of decisions yet to be made. Ultimately, however, the users will make the final cuts and, in the end, trying to predict the market in terms of technology trends is like trying to pin down the rain – it’s a bit hopeless.
I’ve been writing on one specific topic, which is free people search, a topic that combines search (what Google is good at) and social (finding people you haven’t seen for a long time, what Facebook is good at).