MySpace now says it is no longer competing with Facebook, the rival social network with far more users. No, now MySpace will focus on the niche of music and digital entertainment. And compete with Apple and Google.
"Facebook is not our competition," he said. "We're very focused on a different space."
Van Natta added that MySpace it will focus on its strength: Music. MySpace has become the default Web host for independent rock bands, and recently purchased music software company iLike.
MySpace wasn't always so blasé about social networking, the company used to have Facebook in its sights. It was barely two years ago that Van Natta's predecessor Chris DeWolfe got an urgent phone call from Peter Chernin at MySpace's parent company saying, "I need a plan for dealing with Facebook in two weeks." This led, according Julia Angwin's book Stealing Myspace, to a strategy for dealing with "the Facebook challenge head on," presented at a Merrill Lynch conference.
"I realize every person in tis room wants to ask me about Facebook, and, frankly, I want to talk about Facebook," [Fox Interactive Media president Peter] Levinsohn said.
But these days MySpace has just one third of Facebook's users. No wonder the company is singing a different tune.
It's just not a well advised one. Instead of competing with a money-losing internet company headed by a twentysomething college dropout, MySpace will now be taking on Apple (cash hoard: $30 billion) and Google (annual profits: $5 billion, operator of YouTube and soon to be a retailer of MP3s). Sounds like a great plan.