Facebook’s Messenger And The App Ecosystem

At PandoDaily, Sarah Lacy discusses Facebook’s latest blunder, the company forced users to download its new stand-alone app, Messenger, before users could message on Facebook.

For Lacey, the ham-fisted roll-out revealed two things: Zuckerberg and Facebook are really fucking terrible at speaking to their users, and don’t really care to improve. And two, the company’s product strategy is changing from one, all-encompassing Facebook experience into many, functionally discrete apps. Facebook wants to become a suite of specialized softwares, a platform for Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, rather than…FACEBOOK.

Lacey points to Facebook’s history of acquisitions to prove this. In the less recent past, Facebook took on new companies, “bought smart teams, killed the product and folded them in.” This is what she calls the Borg strategy, swallowing everything up and absorbing it into the Facebook experience. But with more recent acquisitions, namely Instagram and WhatsApp, we are seeing something different. These companies and their products continue to exist within corporate Facebook, as discrete entities. Facebook’s own, home-grown app, Messenger, is another step in this direction, in what Lacey calls Balkanization, the splintering and un-bundling of Facebook.

I’m curious to hear what everyone else thinks about this strategy? What is Facebook’s long-term goal in creating an app ecosystem?


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