When we ran screenshots of Facebook's new profile pages back in late February, what you saw was a classic Mark Zuckerberg production. A source close to Facebook tells us the profile redesign was Zuckerberg's pet project, his baby. Well, that baby is dead.
At the very least, it's no longer a Mark Zuckerberg production. The widgetmakers have taken it over. Large Facebook-application developers — VC darlings like Slide, RockYou and Zynga which have thrived on Facebook's platform since it launched last May — panicked when they saw Zuckerberg's plans. And, perhaps because Google's rival app platform, OpenSocial, gave them leverage, the widgetmakers' collective kiboshed Zuckerberg's plan to launch the redesigned profiles in April. They wanted to see changes first. And now, we hear, they got them. Zuckerberg and his team are already "improving the design to have less radical implications for developers," one tells us.
Back when the Facebook platform launched, reporters compared Zuckerberg to Bill Gates. Gates ruled programmers who wrote applications for his Windows platform with such an iron fist that Europe's courts still aren't over it. But how often did third-party software makers push Gates into making Windows the way they wanted it? By contrast, Zuckerberg is hardly putting the "eek" in his ecosystem.