Friday, September 22, 2006

Yahoo! and Facebook

While I have a hard time keeping track of all this talk about mergers and acquisitions related to collaborative platforms and services, my attention got caught by Techcrunch's notice that, once again, Yahoo! is about to spend money to acquire Facebook. For those who want to read the original note in the Wall Street Journal, it's possible today since it's free Friday. Anyway, these acquisitions talks are also going on because the investors in start-up companies also want to see some return on investment, so it's easy to calculate the lower bound for a potential investment. It's a win-win situation for the company which is being sold and the investors, but the risk is on the buying company. On the other hand, in order to gain some advantages over other collaborative sites, it's always easier to buy than anything else (provided that the money is there). But I'm digressing.

While the question of which community to join is probably left as an exercise to the end user, facebook originally had a well-defined target group of college students, but in order to gain momentum, it expanded into high school kids and alumni - and the next step is to allow anyone with a valid e-mail address to join, probably leaving out a small group of those who are not using the Internet at all or some senior citizens that don't care about computer-mediated communication.

Whether Yahoo! would succeed in gaining more momentum than its competitors, I do not know. But time will tell whether the investment will have been a risk or a success.

Update: Some more coverage on this from the New York Times

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