Microsoft's Intentions for Facebook Revealed

Dennis Faas's picture

A few weeks ago, Microsoft and Facebook announced their happy eloping, an arrangement that included an astounding $240 million wedding ring. Now, it's becoming clear just what that money will mean for Microsoft and perhaps more importantly the millions of Facebook fanatics.

Since the purchase, Facebook and Microsoft have enjoyed a tumultuous honeymoon. In fact, some analysts argue that Microsoft paid too much for its share (1.6%) of the social networking site, leaving company executive Steve Ballmer to retort, "The valuation of Facebook is still to be determined. Certainly today, it's very, very popular. So for a company like ours that wants to be a pre-eminent presence in this space, it's very important for us."

There is certainly evidence to support Ballmer's optimism. After all, in the months between January and July of this year, Facebook use exploded by 366%. (Source:

So, what are Microsoft's plans?

As you might expect, the purchase gives Microsoft some phenomenal advertising power. On Tuesday it announced "Facebook Ads", a system designed to allow advertisers to customize their marketing for specific users on the site. Some of these sixty advertisers include heavy-hitters like Blockbuster, Coke, and Verizon Wireless.

Facebook Ads allows companies like the above to go about their business in a few ways. First, they can create a profile like any other schmoe. Second, a concept called "SocialAds" allows people to share advertising information they find interesting. Third, and perhaps most alarming for the average Facebook user, is Microsoft's intent to forward details on user activity directly to marketers.

In many ways, the Facebook Ads initiative is like a mini-Internet, all in itself. Businesses are sure to compete with each other for the title of most attractive and interactive, constantly evolving their strategies as dictated by marketing whispers from Microsoft. (Source:

Clearly, to some this development will be too much. For those who haven't already been scared off by privacy concerns, knowledge that big brother Microsoft is watching may cross the line.

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