With all the buzz around Google+, Facebook might not be the only company feeling insecure. Is Microsoft seeing a ‘Window’ of opportunity as Social Network allegiances are appearing as fickle as they have been in years. Is owning 1% of Facebook really enough of a Social Strategy?
Microsoft has seen Google’s ability to inundate their ads across their services and have been aggressively going after Google’s Search Engine Market share over the past few years with the introduction of Bing.
Could they be agressively looking to compete with Facebook, Twitter and now Google+ in the Social Network market?
Microsoft recently purchased the domain name SOCL.com and presented a leaked Social Networking site entitled “Tulalip”. Now when you go to the domain you get the following message from the Microsoft team:
“Thanks for stopping by.
Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web.
We didn’t mean to, honest.”
In addition, Microsoft’s brand monitoring agency registered Social.com recently for $2.6 million. The agency han’t revealed which one of it’s clients actually made the purchase.
With the recent launch of Cloud-based tools such as Office 365, and emphasis on Social Search and the recent aqusition of Skype for 8.5 billion and the leaked Social Sharing site Tulalip, could Microsoft be getting ready to “pull a Google”?
Over the past few years Google had been testing and refining features that would eventually land in Google+, such as Buzz (Status Updates), Google Profiles (Google + Profile framework), Wave (Real-time communication and collaboration, Huddle), Google Talk (Google Hangouts backbone), their many location based services and of course Orkut their widely popular Social Network in India and Brazil.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, Social based domain names, innovation in Social Search with Bing and proliferation of software services in the corporate and consumer realm could be enough leverage to pull off something big.
The three Big American tech darlings have now all heavily aligned with a Social Network emphasizing the importance of Social Platforms in this next decade. Microsoft aligned with Facebook when they purchased $240 million worth of shares in 2007, Google of course has been polishing Google+ for over a year now and most recently Apple has put Ping(their Music based Social Network last year) aside in favor of heavily integrating Twitter into their Mobile iOS 5 operating system.
Are the shares purchased by Microsoft a lifelong commitment to the Facebook platform and brand or will the pressure of the recent Social Media alignments force them to take their own initiatives.
I believe that Microsoft is about to go into full gear with their Social Strategy and I lay out my insights as to what this strategy will be broken out into ‘Most Likely’, ‘Predicted’ and ‘Long shots’.
Microsoft’s Social Media future:
- The Social Network codenamed ‘Tulalip” won’t be a completely independent Social Network, but some sort of Social Media Aggregator that pulls data from all the top Social Networks, primarily Facebook.
- Heavy Social integration into Windows 8.
- Either more integration of the Facebook ‘Like button’ in their search engine or the creation of their own button to allow for more human influence in their Search results.
- Skype will be heavily integrated as a Social Service within their Network (replacing or integrated into Windows Messanger) and a Windows Live Essential Application.
- The creation of a entirely new social networking site that uses Facebook’s Social Graph and login and has the ability to pull data from other Social Networks creating some sort of one stop Social Media experience.
- A Bing Bar (probably rebranded) across the whole Microsoft Network to compete with Google’s ‘Black Bar’.
- Skype will serve as the backbone of the Social Profiles and logins for their New Social Network.
- Bing will be transformed into a Search Engine, Social Network hybrid.
- Microsoft will create an entirely independent Social Network based on Windows Live ID.
As of now only the internal Social Straegy team knows what their up to, but as they see people’s Social Network allegiances to be so fickle after the Google+ arrival, they are probably feeling more hopeful than ever and their investment in Facebook may be feeling like an insecure one.