Facebook’s Kingdom

When there is a new announcement in IT, for some reason it is presented with far more fanfare than any other industry. Bring out the blaring trumpets and the dancing girls, because Facebook/Google/Apple is holding a press conference!

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The latest announcement is that Facebook will be integrating with Microsoft’s Office suite. So you’re going to be editing documents on your Facebook account. This is supposedly a big threat to Google Docs. I don’t know how. Firstly this will be completely ignored by enterprises. There is just no way big business is going to ask their employees to place their documents onto Facebook.

How do you think a business will feel when they find out Facebook changed the privacy settings on their strategy and forecasting documents to make them public? Or how about sales breakdowns for their product range that they don’t normally make public? I am sure they won’t mind too much.

How many times do you think this will need to happen before businesses feel the risk is too great to even contemplate? I can already see Apple asking their employees to please store their new product design documents and spec sheets on Facebook.

So probably the only area where this is viable is in the consumer market. Is it going to take off in the consumer market? Well I don’t know but the biggest demand for Office suites is in the enterprise market (about 90% of Office sales are to business users according to an article I read by some “analyst” this morning) so the target market seems all wrong. I don’t think either Microsoft or Facebook believe this will take over Google Docs and put that product out of business.

The best that Microsoft can hope for is that it will slow down the adoption of alternative office suites and frankly there is no reason for Facebook to even care. I would think Facebook got paid something for including Microsoft’s offering and if it fails it will have no impact on them, there’s no downside for Facebook. If it’s a success then it will enhance their image but no one is going to judge them on the failure of some form of document editing software that they offer on their site.

As for Microsoft, they’re living in the hope that this new facility on Facebook will somehow put them into the cool gang. There’s no way that’s going to happen. The Bill Gates + Seinfeld ads from a few years ago are a perfect illustration of why Microsoft will never be a member of the cool gang. I think they’re the clumsy bully that can’t figure out why no one likes them.

So is Facebook about to change the world? I would answer with a resounding “No”. And yes, I do see the irony of ending this piece with a prediction.

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