Valleywag – one of my favorite daily tech reads (please owen start covering the scene here in seattle) – posts what I believe a lot of folks are wondering – is facebook the new microsoft? Facebook is following the Microsoft development platform playbook (as discussed here previously) with their F8 application development platform. Suddently there are hundreds of ISV’s running around creating new facebook apps much like Microsoft was ultimately able to create hundreds of thousands of ISV’s for Windows. However for much of its history though Microsoft was notorious for suposedly eating its young (the ISV’s) and their custom applications (for us old timers who doesn’t remember the bloom county version called Microsquash?). As Owen Thomas from Valleywag writes - Facebook developers, you’ve been put on notice.
My point isn’t necessarily to rain on the FB app parade as I think it’s got a ton of opportunity and have plenty of ideas for apps myself. What’s interesting is that just last week I had a very similar conversation with a VC friend of mine. My VC friend is awfully concerned about FB eating its young. His counsel on investment ideas around FB apps is – be very careful. He just can’t believe that FB will allow ISV’s to make unlimited amounts of money without FB getting a big cut. And if FB gets a big cut, then my VC friend is concerned as to whether there’s enough money on the table for the app developer to make it big financially.
And if not, then FB will just eats its young and make the money themselves since there is nothing to stop them. Just a reminder that as much as Scoble and Dave McClure are smoking the FB crack-pipe (and to an extent rightfully so), all of us looking at FB as the new startup business playground need to think about the risks that the current environment might contain.
OK you may now return to your favorite FB hype-fest.