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Microsoft to Buy 5% of Facebook Valuing at $10bn

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the wish-i-had-a-billion-dollars dept.

216

l-ascorbic writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft is poised to buy 5% of Facebook for $300 million to $500 million, valuing the company at up to $10 billion. Microsoft already handles advertising for the site."

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wow (0, Redundant)

jgarra23 (1109651) | about 7 years ago | (#20743899)

That's a lot of moolah. I'm surprised with all the FB/MS hugging going on that Facebook is running PHP

Re:wow (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#20743959)

Probably because it would cost so much for FB to migrate to .NET (or any application server). Think about how much traffic FB gets -- now think about how much extra hardware they would need to aquire to switch from a CGI-esque technology like PHP to a big and heavy AS like .NET, let alone the man hours needed to recode everything.

Re:wow (2, Interesting)

hellsDisciple (889830) | about 7 years ago | (#20744091)

Facebook runs pretty snappy - begs the question of are many other projects using ASP.NET, JSP or other heavy duty systems where PHP on Commodity hardware would scale well. In any case I will be leaving if MS buys facebook.

Re:wow (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744443)

In any case I will be leaving if MS buys facebook.

Sure you will. Right after you meet that lass in a pub that wants to be your "friend...." ;-)

Re:wow (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20744367)

Odd, I've looked at ASP, from a code perspective, it doesn't seem exceptionally different from PHP. Like someone tried to combine PHP and C# or VB.NET.

Re:wow (-1, Troll)

nuzak (959558) | about 7 years ago | (#20744613)

> I've looked at ASP, from a code perspective, it doesn't seem exceptionally different from PHP.

That's because PHP is based on ASP model. Now try looking at ASP.NET, which is a completely different model, more like JSF or Tapestry.

Re:wow (2, Interesting)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 7 years ago | (#20744067)

Plus, Facebook uses Java to upload its images and Flash to play the videos.

They'll be replaced with .NET and Silverlight.

Oh, and kiss goodbye to the mail account that you've registered with Facebook. Spam ahoy...

Re:wow (3, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#20744395)

I know your post was sarcastic, but any mac users dealing with the agonizing slowness of their photo upload applet should be cheering for joy if what you're saying is true.

Flash on Mac isn't all that hot either. Adobe's more or less been shitting all over the platform ever since Apple started directly competing with them. A single Youtube video can easily suck up 80% of the CPU cycles on a modern Core Duo machine.

As long as the number of competitors remains small (ie. 2), I think that Silverlight will actually boost the quality of web applications on ALL platforms.

Java's had its time, and frankly, while it's found niches in other fields, it sucks for web applets. Java applets need to disappear into the ether, resting alongside VRML. (Facebook IS in a pickle, because at the moment, Java probably is the best solution for multiple photo uploads...)

Re:wow (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 7 years ago | (#20744761)

I know your post was sarcastic, but any mac users dealing with the agonizing slowness of their photo upload applet should be cheering for joy if what you're saying is true.

Flash on Mac isn't all that hot either. Adobe's more or less been shitting all over the platform ever since Apple started directly competing with them. A single Youtube video can easily suck up 80% of the CPU cycles on a modern Core Duo machine.


You do know about the official Mac OS X-native FaceBook Exporter for iPhoto [facebook.com] , don't you? It's that kind of integrated app that makes the user experience with Facebook nice, not things like Silverlight.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744995)

I'm never installing silverlight (moonlight) or CLR; Java is GPL now and I trust SUN not to sue me or make absurd and continuing patent threats.

Microsoft need restraining, who knows one day they may even produce a decent OS.

20002 called. (2, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | about 7 years ago | (#20745277)

Sun was actively discouraging the use of applets over five years ago. The use of Java on the web has since been almost entirely server-side. There's no reason an applet is necessary to perform a binary upload. See Google's file attachment method as an example and Jakarta Commons FileUpload as the likely back-end to what is little more than a standard multipart form submission.

Just because the people implementing the technology suck doesn't mean the technology itself does.

Re:wow (2, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#20744337)

Its sort of funny that myspace is so Microsoft loving ( .NET and SQL server), but facebook the Lamp Champ is the one now partially owned by MS.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

gtall (79522) | about 7 years ago | (#20744899)

Looked at another way, myspace has already been borged, Microsoft is merely corralling more sheep for branding.

Gerry

How are you gentlemen? (4, Funny)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 7 years ago | (#20745239)

All of your face are belong to us.

$10 billion (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20743901)

$10 billion for a site that has 34 million active users ~= $300 per user. Hmm. I think this site is highly overvalued. But let MS waste their money if they want.

Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted... (4, Insightful)

mad.frog (525085) | about 7 years ago | (#20743991)

...just require 34 million active Facebook users (who are probably mostly young, rabid web users of other sites too) to install it.

How long till we see some cool new site feature -- or, hell, even an existing, basic feature -- reworked ("enhanced") to require Silverlight?

Re:Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#20744063)

About the same amount of time for them to switch back to their old DHTML code, when the new code stopped working on some browsers (including my browser).

Re:Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744137)

Well 300$ / user is reasonable with a ~30$/user/year profit or ~2.50$/month/user which might not be that far off.

Re:Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20744373)

You forget. Microsoft can just push silverlight as a update for IE.
Unlike Slashdot only 5 or 10 percent of Facebook users use firefox.

Re:Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted (2, Interesting)

GregariousBoson (1109985) | about 7 years ago | (#20744575)

I don't see it happening. 5% is a far cry from majority shareholder. Especially if Google and other companies are buying in, as other folks have written. My (optimistic) guess is that there's no hidden agenda. Can't a company just invest in another company that looks promising?

Re:Well, that's one way to get Silverlight adopted (4, Funny)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 7 years ago | (#20744719)

Can't a company just invest in another company that looks promising?

Yeah! And can't a crackhead just admire your car stereo?

Re:$10 billion (1)

Freexe (717562) | about 7 years ago | (#20744193)

Didn't people say the same thing about Google, Myspace etc... They are all turning into money earner in this new digital landscape.

The potential of these sites to become long term hubs for people to visit has got to be worth the few million MS is dropping into it.

Re:$10 billion (4, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 7 years ago | (#20744451)

The problem is that sites like myspace and facebook ARE NOT long term hubs for people to visit. They are trendy sites, back in '99 when I was in a freshman in college the place to go was blackplanet, mi gente, Asian Avenue, and livejournal. After these sites it was friendster which was ethnically all inclusive. Now the new trend is myspace and facebook. All of these social networking sites are just fads and when something that looks better comes along everyone will abandon myspace/facebook/whatever and start aggregating friends somewhere else.

Re:$10 billion (1)

psbrogna (611644) | about 7 years ago | (#20744475)

I think think your term/concept "long term hub" is the issue at hand. At any one time there's a whole bunch of "hubs" jockeying to be "the one." As the web evolves I think it's always going to be easier for somebody to jump to the front of the line and leverage cool stuff that older sites (that've already achieved wide spread adoption) will take longer to integrate. The leap frogging phenomena exists in many forms across technology. So the valuation of these critters is a dicey prospect: one component of the value is the "membership mass" but the other is how new the technology is. Given that there can be only a limited number of "hubs" at the top of the food chain and those are the ones with significant value due to membership AND that at any moment, a new player can jump to the top with a new technology- the est. values are bound to be a complete roller coaster. I certainly would be skeptical of throwing cash at one- but perhaps the smarties over in Redmond have crunched the numbers and figured there's a window of opportunity for an ROI; that they can monetize the membership prior to somebody knocking facebook out of their near-the-top slot.

Re:$10 billion (5, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | about 7 years ago | (#20744323)

Microsoft calculated the cost per user of these shares in Excel 2007, and found that every user of Facebook would pay them several thousand dollars.

Re:$10 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744421)

Well...time to clean the coffee off the keyboard. That was funny.

Tax write off (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#20744485)

When you earn that much you have to find bigger ways of avoiding tax. They probably did their charitable bit for this year anyway.

Re:$10 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744747)

Maybe Microsoft sees a lot of value in owning a share of a pedophile network [theregister.co.uk]

Re:$10 billion (1)

neoform (551705) | about 7 years ago | (#20744961)

Sale value != Yearly Income.

It's very possible that over the next 10 years facebook can bring in $300 per user.

Many companies sell for 10 times what their yearly revenue is.

Re:$10 billion (1)

Silverstrike (170889) | about 7 years ago | (#20745685)

No no no.....

You're making the same mistake as TFA.

There's a declining net aggregate utility in owning share in the company. A sharply declining one too.

The first 5% might cost them $300 million or whatever, the next 5% significantly less, etc.

Its not a linear function, and therefore, you can't make the leap to "Facebook is worth $10 billion, and each user $300"

Now, that said, I agree no matter what, its still wildly overpriced.

Depends which 5 percent they're getting (0, Flamebait)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 7 years ago | (#20743943)

I definitely wouldn't want my money within a thousand miles of that "F*** the Jews" facebook group that got so much negative publicity...

Re:Depends which 5 percent they're getting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744353)

Fuck the jews

Re:Depends which 5 percent they're getting (3, Interesting)

sepluv (641107) | about 7 years ago | (#20744467)

wouldn't want my money within a thousand miles of that "F*** the Jews" facebook group

Well...your money won't be because the evil Jew bankers have it all and they are using it to bring in the New World Order.

Note to Mods: That was supposed to be funny.

Seriously though, you (the parent) might actually have a reputation to tarnish unlike the prospective puchasers of Facebook (Microsoft and Yahoo)...

This feels like 1999 all over again (3, Insightful)

Paktu (1103861) | about 7 years ago | (#20743947)

How the hell is Facebook worth $10 billion? Less than a year ago, they were estimated to be worth $1 billion...does anyone seriously think this site can bring in real revenue?

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#20744027)

Well, they have millions of users, who are fed ads with every page request. I'm pretty sure that they are making a lot of money -- or else Google wouldn't be doing so well either.

nope (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 7 years ago | (#20744397)

TFA itself says that Facebook themselves expect to rake in a piddling $30 million profit on $150 million revenue this year.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (5, Insightful)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | about 7 years ago | (#20744043)

How the hell is Facebook worth $10 billion?

Repeat after me: BUBBLE

Next month it will be worth ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS, and the month after it'll be worthless.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

benmatth (1160859) | about 7 years ago | (#20744187)

Looks like it's time to buy some tech stock.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744461)

Silly. You don't buy stock during its bubble. You buy it before the bubble and sell it during the bubble. Or, you borrow stock during the bubble, short it, and make a shiny profit after the bubble pops.

Now you've done it (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | about 7 years ago | (#20744603)

Shhhhh!

P.S. I've got some shares in Northern Rock - sounds like a solid investment, eh - now I would hang on to them but my daughter's getting married and I need the cash in a hurry...

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20745251)

Repeat after me: BUBBLE

Next month it will be worth ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS, and the month after it'll be worthless.
I believe you mean "Bubble 2.0."

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744093)

targeted ad impressions. not that it makes up for 10b, but it's a start...

gg adblock

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

Piata (927858) | about 7 years ago | (#20744123)

Facebook is an advertiser's wet dream. It has the potential to connect everyone on a long enough time line and if Facebook keeps on top of it's game, it most likely will. Obviously it must be bringing in some revenue if they have the bandwidth to handle millions of hits per month and open an office in London: http://blog.facebook.com/ [facebook.com]

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

minuszero (922125) | about 7 years ago | (#20744705)

...and let us not forget the value of being able to personalise the ads as easily as facebook could allow for (they can arguably know you better than you do if you fill in enough of that info section).
Targeted ads are worth far more than non-targeted, for obvious reasons.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#20744273)

Well, you have 34 million users, so theoretically they must be worth something if you can leverage that for advertising or something.

Not 10 billion though. If you started charging your users for special features you could start pushing toward that, but as long as you're relying on ad revenue you're screwed.

It's like cable, or newspapers...The ad revenue is what people talk about, but the bulk of the money comes from subscription fees! Advertising is just the icing on top. The reason you pay 100 bucks a month for your extended basic cable is because ESPN doesn't break even with advertising...That's just reality.

As long as people buy into this fantasy that users of a free service are equal to money, you're going to see this sort of behaviour.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | about 7 years ago | (#20744329)

Yeah, my newspaper that charges something like $15/month and displays all their content online for free is making a killing off of subscription fees.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (5, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#20744867)

Seeing as I'm currently in charge of the financial systems for a medium sized newspaper who puts all their content online as well, I think I'm in a better position to say how much money comes from what.

We get dick from online. I mean, it's like joke money. Maybe a hundred thousand a month...more on a good month. Retail ads are 20 times that, and classified more still. Actual circulation revenue, including single copy which is pretty expensive compared to a subscription, is well into the millions and that is money that comes in every month, like clockwork. Sure, on Thanksgiving you're pulling in enough ads to double your circulation money, and Christmas too, but then there's the rest of the year.

The problem with newspapers is that the actual process of creating and delivering the paper is a huge time and money sink. Despite that we're still running a solid profit, though as many people point out, it's shrinking. Online is obviously the answer to a prayer...we could afford a HUGE drop in ad revenue and still make a profit if we could close down the print product. But as it stands with online advertising, it's still not profitable enough to think about that.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

everphilski (877346) | about 7 years ago | (#20744415)

Well, you have 34 million users, so theoretically they must be worth something if you can leverage that for advertising or something.

Yeah, but not all 34 million are active. I'm one of them ... I check it about once a month for 5-15 minutes. Once you are out of college for a few years its really just there to get the contact of a former colleague if you need it. Assuming they kept it up-to-date.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | about 7 years ago | (#20744393)

Study after study shows the Facebook demographic completely ignores ads, doesn't even realize they are there, or even run adblock plus.

That means Facebook is worth almost nothing. The advertisers haven't caught on yet tho, they aren't exactly the type that real research studies ;)

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20744923)

That means Facebook is worth almost nothing.

      It's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. If Microsoft figures it's worth $10 bn, then it's worth $10bn. Of course, I won't argue that MSFT might be making a huge mistake, but huge mistakes can just be written off anyway... It takes balls to take risk, and risk doesn't always pay off. But when it does, it's well worth it.

Typical Financing (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 7 years ago | (#20744447)

This kind of financing is the ultimate pyramid scheme. Totally legal too.

Step 1: Sell the first tiny bit of a company to someone for $100.
Step 2: Sell the next tiny bit of a company to someone else for $1000. You can casually drop impressive phrases like, "My investors..."

Rinse and repeat minimizing losing control of the company.

Given the amount of wealth held by the top 2% in the U.S., this kind of private placement financing will be quite the norm going forward. Another reason why income and wealth distribution is so important in any given society. With wealth being concentrated in so few individuals, there is no consequence for bad investment decisions. Microsoft can make a whole string of bad investments with no repercussions whatsoever. It simply won't affect their stock price.

Re:This feels like 1999 all over again (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 years ago | (#20744931)

How the hell is Facebook worth $10 billion? Less than a year ago, they were estimated to be worth $1 billion...does anyone seriously think this site can bring in real revenue?

Just because Microsoft overpaid for 5% does not make Facebook worth 10 billion dollars. Microsoft have overpaid to get a chunk of companies in the past which have since died away. Invest in Facebook at your own peril.

that would make $ 294 / user! (3, Interesting)

dermond (33903) | about 7 years ago | (#20743949)

wikipedia reports 34 million users. this would it mean $294 per user... sounds a bit overpriced to me..

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

tompeach (1118811) | about 7 years ago | (#20743995)

Since MS handle advertising for the site they are probably in a pretty good position to judge the growth and future value of said advertising reveneue.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#20744099)

Either that or they're fairly convinced that owning 5% can give them much more than 5% influence.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | about 7 years ago | (#20744877)

More specifically, they are convinced that owning 5% will prevent Google from ever getting a part of the Facebook action.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#20745693)

Right.

5% is enough to guarantee that they'll keep using ads from Microsoft, and probably enough to get them to embed some technology that Microsoft wants to embrace and extend. We all know that Microsoft is willing to spend billions to buy into new markets with minimal merit, so getting equity for their buy-in is a bonus.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (4, Funny)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | about 7 years ago | (#20744381)

I think instead they should just buy every user an Xbox 360. . .

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 7 years ago | (#20744553)

Well, there's a handy chart in TFA that shows Facebook as having 69.3MM unique visitors in August 2007... this figure is more relevant to ad impressions and click-throughs than number of users.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 7 years ago | (#20744865)

"wikipedia reports 34 million users. this would it mean $294 per user... sounds a bit overpriced to me.."

If the growth has been rapid, then 34 mil today could be 50 mil in a few months. And even more down the road.

Re:that would make $ 294 / user! (2, Funny)

NickCatal (865805) | about 7 years ago | (#20744999)

Wikipedia reports it as "MIKE IS GAY", what does that make it worth?

MS Can buy into my website! (1)

heauxmeaux (869966) | about 7 years ago | (#20743953)

It's a gay dating site called DINKLINK.COM
It's poised to take the gay dating world by storm...

oh great.... (1)

MarkToronto (1145669) | about 7 years ago | (#20743961)

Time to prepare for the Blue Graffiti of death.

Noooooo!!!! (5, Funny)

onosson (1107107) | about 7 years ago | (#20743985)

Maybe if we all *poke* Bill Gates, we can get him to stop.

Google is already poking him (2, Informative)

Julie188 (991243) | about 7 years ago | (#20744335)

Here's a story also that adds that Google is talking about investing in Facebook [networkworld.com] . Makes it sound like Microsoft's move is just another way to get back at Google. (Did you know Microsoft has started a "consortium" to try and block the Google/Doubleclick merger [networkworld.com] -- only no other companies will join so far?) Another tug-o-war between the two and Facebook developers wind up rich? The reports sound like nothing more than rumors, even if they do come from the WSJ.
--
Microsoft Subnet -- the independent voice [networkworld.com]

Re:Google is already poking him (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 7 years ago | (#20744529)

I would add to your argument the magic number is probably some small amount of cash and lots of software licensing. Companies love to do this kind of deal and make the numbers look really big.

Re:Noooooo!!!! (1)

teslar (706653) | about 7 years ago | (#20745185)

Well, amusingly enough, he does seem to exist [facebook.com] on Facebook. In the Microsoft network, plenty of friends at Microsoft, it might just be the real thing.

Re:Noooooo!!!! (1)

onosson (1107107) | about 7 years ago | (#20745473)

I just friend-requested him!

Re:Noooooo!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20745719)

You are hereby banned from Slashdot.

If you wish to reactivate your account, you must provide us with evidence of vandalism, identity theft, or some other appropriate reason to friend request Bill Gates.

Hopefully not (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 7 years ago | (#20744017)

Mark Zuckerberg would like to keep it independent apparently.

In any case, register your complaint by joining this group

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6197556554 [facebook.com]

Everyone knows that joining a group on Facebook can move mountains and change the world...

Re:Hopefully not (2, Funny)

sepluv (641107) | about 7 years ago | (#20744317)

You forgot all the copycat groups, because, as everyone knows, even if joining one facebook group on the issue won't help, joining loads, just might! ...and, of course, the obligatory:

Re:Hopefully not (1)

griffjon (14945) | about 7 years ago | (#20744723)

I zeroed out my MySpace account when Fox bought it, it'd be a shame to have to do the same with Fb.

Scrabble (4, Funny)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 7 years ago | (#20744071)

As long as I can still play Scrabble, I don't care!!!1

Actually, this input from Microsoft might help to fix the problems that Scrabulous seems to suffer every day... right, gang?? As you can see, I only use Facebook for Scrabble. There must be a group for me.

Re:Scrabble (2, Funny)

SimonGhent (57578) | about 7 years ago | (#20744205)

> As you can see, I only use Facebook for Scrabble.
> There must be a group for me

yeah, but if you joined a facebook group for people who only use facebook for scrabble, then you would no longer use facebook for scrabble and you'd have to join a facebook group for people who only use facebook for scrabble and being members of facebook groups for people...

Re:Scrabble (1)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#20744297)

Here ya go, Totally Scrabble Tuesday [facebook.com] .

Weak. (0, Flamebait)

igotmybfg (525391) | about 7 years ago | (#20744103)

Facebook was really cool back when it was just college students. You can call it elitism if you like, but it was nice to have something that was just for us. Now anyone can get on, and all the third party developer apps make it feel like myspace... I don't see the sale to MSFT helping any. Guess it makes sense for Zuckerberg & Co, from a business perspective, to target as many people as possible.

Re:Weak. (1)

Tophorn (65492) | about 7 years ago | (#20744211)

I'd vote for that. I mean where else to all those people that never graduate college have to call their own. Shame on the graduates for not unregistering their accounts!

Re:Weak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20744255)

Everyone grows up. Its been about four years since facebook launched, which is the length of college for many. You can't be a college student forever, so why does it make sense to keep it strictly college?

And wanting it exclusive to college people is not just elitism, it's narcissistic, and stupid. Which is precisely what facebook is about. How many friends do you have? Can I be your friend?

Re:Weak. (1)

smithcl8 (738234) | about 7 years ago | (#20744311)

Nice to have something for yourself, but you're only in college for 8 years!

Re:Weak. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20744423)

I got on with just an email account from college. I haven't been a college student since the Commodore 64 was a good computer and the Amiga was cutting edge.

Re:Weak. (2, Insightful)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | about 7 years ago | (#20744433)

Though I really despise the ridiculous amount of profile clutter some of the more myspace-y users have, I don't think their opening up is a bad thing at all. Yeah, I was able to connect with a few people at my school and whatnot before, but after opening up, I was able to connect with far more people. Not everybody I know goes to school, and the increased universality seems to have compelled some of my friends who do go to school who hadn't joined previously to join. And thus far, Facebook has avoided some of the biggest plagues of myspace, which are bright backgrounds, music, and blinking text.

Bad move (1)

ZipprHead (106133) | about 7 years ago | (#20744139)

IMHO a bad move for Microsoft as social networking sites continue to grow and become cliche'. First there was friendster, then myspace, now it's facebook. I think they all suck. Give it another year, and they'll be some one else who does it better.

Re:Bad move (1)

GregariousBoson (1109985) | about 7 years ago | (#20744527)

I wouldn't bet on it. You could have said the same thing about search engines in 1998. We had Yahoo! and Excite and then Metacrawler popped up, and Google. At some point, someone becomes king of the mountain and just stays there.

I can't wait to see pictures (4, Funny)

duppyconqueror (1161341) | about 7 years ago | (#20744209)

of Ballmer and Gates doing Jello Shooters at a rager.

Re:I can't wait to see pictures (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20744839)

No one does Jello shooters anymore. At least not in that tax bracket. You get people to drink them for you, while you smirk at them over cognac and caviar.

This isn't surprising (1)

diewlasing (1126425) | about 7 years ago | (#20744213)

MS is probably going to try to get student info to do more effective market research.

Re:This isn't surprising (1)

rubenerd (998797) | about 7 years ago | (#20744869)

Why the hell would the need to do that? The Zune and Vista are selling great.

Yahoo predicament for Microsoft? (1)

rubenerd (998797) | about 7 years ago | (#20744231)

How does this affect their Windows Live Space garbage? If Microsoft really did take an interest could we see the same predicament we see Yahoo in with their "360" and "Mash" offerings? That said, I don't think this really matters. It's like 5% being bought by Google, more of a political move than anything of substance for users. Unless Ballmer starts throwing chairs at people who joined the "Micro$soft is teh evil!!!1!!1111!" groups.

How many real users? (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 years ago | (#20744305)

Great. Just another reason not to use facebook.

As for the number of users, I wonder how many of them actually USE facebook, vs simply having registered in order to see someone elses crap. I know a lot of people who've been roped into 'signing' up to these sights in order to see their cousins christmas pictures, or to rsvp to a wedding shower where the idiot hosting it sent out the invitations via facebook.

So far: I don't have a facebook profile; I don't want a facebook profile; and I'm dreading the day where I have to get a facebook profile because I need to see someone elses effing facebook crap. I just know that sooner or later an important client is going to send me a facebook invitation that I'll -have- to register on the site to properly respond to...

I hate social^H^H^H^H^H^H viral networking sites.

Re:How many real users? (2, Informative)

HarvardAce (771954) | about 7 years ago | (#20744915)

As for the number of users, I wonder how many of them actually USE facebook, vs simply having registered in order to see someone elses crap.
According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , 60% of users log in at least once per day. This number is probably a little old (my guess is the number has decreased as more and more people have joined), but even at half that number it is still impressive.

Micro$oft? Facebook? (1)

Mr.Fork (633378) | about 7 years ago | (#20744313)

Hey! If I add Gates and the rest of the MS staff, I can start using my Star Wars Jedi plugin and start using the force on them! Maybe even recruit some of them to the Jedi Linux side! I think Darth Gates might be a tough opponent though his minions will be very easy to manipulate..

"These are not the code bugs in Vista you are looking for" could have a whole new meaning... :)

They must have asked Rupert Murdoch's advice (4, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | about 7 years ago | (#20744333)

I'm sure Steve Ballmer discussed this with Rupert Murdoch over drinks.

"So how are profits from your MySpace purchase, Rupe?"

"Oh, well ..." said Murdoch, looking nervous. "Actually, great. Great! It's going to be worth billions real soon now." He laughed icily at his own irony.

"Really? Because we were thinking of buying a stake in Facebook at Microsoft."

"Oh, you should totally do it," said Murdoch, grinning wildly.

"Yeah, we thought the developers would love using it on a sort-of group connection to MSDN."

"Do it! There's nowhere for these social sites to go but up."

"And we're thinking of extending the Welcome to the Social campaign to include it."

But Murdoch was laughing to hard to hear the rest.

Who are these people familiar with the matter? (1)

slinq (1161887) | about 7 years ago | (#20744405)

During this article I count 14 uses of the phrase "said people familiar with the matter". After the 10th time I started wondering who these familiar people were. Is this some kind of WSJ in-joke that I'm not party to, or is the journalist just not very good?

Re:Who are these people familiar with the matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20745443)

Most likely it's the journalist trying to protect the anonymity of the source(s)

buy people (5, Interesting)

kurtis25 (909650) | about 7 years ago | (#20744487)

Face it we are being bought and sold like cattle. In this case MSFT is buying a place to plug in their future office live apps. A few updates down the road you will see the edit interface look like office live. This will mean that thousands of people are getting used to a MSFT product on Facebook and will use office live when they have to decide where to type their next document. Let's say Google buys Slashdot and changes the Post Comment screen to a docs.Google style screen (with awesome presentation style comment ability) then when it comes time to choosing a Word Processor in 3 years I'm going to choose docs.Google since I've already been using it on Slashdot and you will make the same choice. So this 5$ share is nothing more then MSFT buying future customers. They didn't buy the farm for the land they bought it for the cattle. ---- Mooooo....

Re:buy people (1, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | about 7 years ago | (#20744651)

I want the minute of my life that it took to read that back.

Hell! (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 7 years ago | (#20744503)

Mark Zuckerberg is the Steve Jobs of our time! He's 23 years old and worth billions! Same as Jobs back when he was Zuckerberg's age. It just goes to show, if you're enthusiastic and driven, and you have an idea to satisfy a need people don't already know exists, you stand to make billions!

Oh, goodie ... (2, Insightful)

the bluebrain (443451) | about 7 years ago | (#20744509)

... then we can expect similar groundbreaking, innovative improvements as we saw when hotmail was microwashed.

valuation credits (1)

psbrogna (611644) | about 7 years ago | (#20744515)

So... Dr. Evil is doing due diligence for MS? Who knew.

Facebook is nicely done (2, Insightful)

hey (83763) | about 7 years ago | (#20745017)

Facebook is nicely done. They keep everything lowkey. No blinking, no spam, etc. They appear to respect user's privacy.
Its what users who aren't children want. That is one of the reasons it got so many users. Well, that and the network effect. But niceness certianly helps. Of course, Microsoft knows nothing about making an application low key and pleasant to use.
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