People say that Facebook might be the new Microsoft as if that's a good thing. The Windows operating system, after all, has been an immensely profitable platform for third-party developers, and Facebook, with its F8 platform, hopes to do the same. But there's another side to Microsoft as platform owner — the side that willfully enters a software arena and destroys independent developers working in that market. That's the cruel face that Facebook is now presenting. Here's what it looks like.
Facebook engineer Kevin Der writes in the company blog:
When we launched Facebook Video at the end of May, one of my favorite features was being able to record a video of myself within a message and then send it to my friends. Soon the Video team realized that we also sent friends messages in the form of Wall posts, so we started working on video attachments for the Wall too.
At the same time, we noticed other platform applications building their own walls - ways to leave various sorts of messages behind. We realized it made sense not just to add videos to Wall posts, but to make the Wall a more central place that any platform application could add content to. As a result, we have now launched an improved Wall.
Translation: Developers, don't even think about replacing Facebook's Wall application, a central place where users can leave message for each other. If you develop a better Facebook message board — say, one with video, or virtual graffiti capabilities, or so on — Facebook engineers will detect it, copy the functionality, and render your app pointless.
You're welcome to develop apps for Facebook's official Wall, of course. Much like Microsoft tolerates developers who build add-ons for Outlook. Facebook developers, you've been put on notice: Facebook really is the new Microsoft, in all senses. Build software with that in mind.