I recently wrote that the investment in Facebook by Microsoft is a great win for the Redmond-based software company. John Dvorak sees it differently. Mr. Dvorak is one of the best tech writers I know and I have been reading his work for decades. His recent article on how the Microsoft/Facebook deal makes no sense has some valid points to it.
For example the quality of Facebook users may not be so good and users are fickle – moving from social network to social network.
Dvorak also points out the service can’t get much bigger.
So here is my counter-argument. I believe the service can get bigger. I recently signed up as a new user on Facebook and ever since, I have been getting barraged by others to become Facebook friends. I am noticing many of my early adopter colleagues are on the service. This leads me to think many others in business world will be joining soon as well.
In addition, I have been getting invites to join Facebook groups, download add-ons, etc. The service is getting m ore viral and stickier.
To be honest, I have little time to deal with the service but the invites keep coming. It seems the people I know think this service is really useful and they seem to be very active on it.
So there is the potential that the service will continue to grow – penetrating the business market. I suppose it also has potential to grow outside the US.
In addition, Microsoft is a strong player online but they have little street cred as an internet company. Everyone thinks Google when they think internet. The YouTube and DoubleClick acquisitions associate Google with the internet that much more. Now, for the first time, Microsoft has the potential to be part of something new and cool online.
In fact I believe this deal can help the company can gain cool mindshare… They become an internet player once again.
What is this worth? Can you put a price tag on it? I don’t know really but from a valuation standpoint it could have serious ramifications. Becoming a relevant internet company again could bring the Internet investors back into the stock.
So let’ say John is right and I am wrong. Microsoft invested what they consider to be pocket change into this company. If the relationship goes forward and Facebook hits its targets, Microsoft can invest more. If not, they can reevaluate.
Either way, it is a small price to pay for big potential and what I call ocean-front advertising property. Time will tell how this all plays out.