Microsoft, RIM, Infusing Facebook with New Abilities

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week, Microsoft proudly announced it was the new papa of the web's hippest and most powerful young site, Facebook. Now, even as they battle it out in other spheres, it appears both the Redmond-based company and Waterloo firm Research in Motion will be major contributors in shaping Facebook's future.

Elsewhere in the tech world, Microsoft and Research in Motion, or RIM, are at each other's throats. Microsoft is currently unveiling its own server-based tool for managing Windows Mobile devices, dubbed "System Center Mobile Device Manager". It should provide direct competition for RIM's BlackBerry service, Enterprise Server. (Source:

Despite their differences, both companies clearly agree that there is one heckuva future in Facebook. The social networking site, which allows users to post pictures, messages, and even interact via mini-games, recently received a $240 million injection from software goliath Microsoft. That's expected to greatly expand Facebook's advertising power, meaning it won't soon be limited to the world's youth. It may also mean big bucks for Microsoft, as it attempts to gain ground on Google in overall web presence.

Now, the makers of BlackBerry want a piece of the pie. T-Mobile USA will soon build a Facebook application into the BlackBerry devices it sells. However, those owning a BlackBerry on any network will also be able to download the tool, according to Facebook co-founder and vice president of engineering Dustin Moskovitz.

The new initiative is intended to expand social networking to some four million active users by the end of October. Currently, the website offers services for just about any Canadian and American carrier, with O2 in the United Kingdom coming on board soon.

Analysts see the move by Facebook as a direct attack on MySpace, which has yet to construct mobile plans. Greg Sterling, of Sterling Market Intelligence, said, "If you didn't build out your mobile capabilities, you would be losing out to those that have that functionality, as mobile becomes more important to people's experience." (Source:

Not surprisingly, Facebook is also doing business with Apple. Facebook services have now been added to the iPhone's full web browser, with a special site reserved just for use with the popular multimedia handheld.

Although MySpace still boasts a legion of fans in the United States, initiatives by Facebook are sending it quickly into oblivion.

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