Maybe Bill Gates Will Be Your Facebook Friend

Dennis Faas's picture

As if social networking site Facebook wasn't already enough of a titan on the web, it's about to become even more powerful. Why? Because the Redmond gods have just injected it with $240 million bucks.

That's right, Microsoft recently purchased a minority stake in Facebook, which accepted the bid over another from search engine giant Google. The deal with Microsoft will lead to an expansion of social networking services (as if Facebook didn't already have enough), and, sigh, more advertising.

For those of you who have yet to dabble in Facebook -- and that number continues to dwindle every day -- it's a mish-mash of MySpace, Microsoft Messenger, and even Classmates. How so? Users will soon find that the site's best qualities are those that allow for personal customization, finding friends, and interaction. All it takes is a search and there's a good chance you can get in touch with that grade six girlfriend or boyfriend (if you want to).

So, what does Microsoft have to do with any of this?

Facebook is popular. Thus, it only makes sense that Microsoft would want to own a large part of Facebook. Since it's unclear what other services Microsoft will bring to the table, off the bat it'll be the new advertising everyone notices. According to reports, Microsoft plans to expand its existing agreement to provide banner ads to Facebook in the United States. It should also mean that banner ads advertising Facebook will begin to pop up on a greater number of external sites under the sway of almighty Microsoft. (Source:

Unofficially, Facebook is a trophy in Microsoft's web war against Google. According to one analyst, "This is about placing a big bet on the future of Facebook and positioning Microsoft possibly for an outright acquisition later, as well as keeping Facebook away from Google." (Source:

So, is this anything the average Facebook user should be excited about?

Probably not. The deal seems almost exclusively an advertising triumph for Microsoft, which has struggled to match Google online in that regard. However, the Redmond-based company's muscle should keep the spammers and perhaps even sickos out, making Facebook a much safer place to surf.

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