Embrace. Extend …. What Comes Next, Again?
In order to build the necessary respect and win the mindshare of the Internet community, I recommend a recipe not unlike the one we’ve used with our TCP/IP efforts: embrace, extend, then innovate. Phase 1 (Embrace): All participants need to establish a solid understanding of the infostructure and the community–determine the needs and the trends of the user base. Only then can we effectively enable Microsoft system products to be great Internet systems. Phase 2 (Extend): Establish relationships with the appropriate organizations and corporations with goals similar to ours. Offer well-integrated tools and services compatible with established and popular standards that have been developed in the Internet community.”
–J Allard, corporate vice president of design and development for the Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, “Windows: The Next Killer Application on the Internet,” 1994
This morning came the inevitable extension of that idea, the announcement of a partnership with five social networks on a new data-portability strategy. LinkedIn, Tagged, Hi5, Bebo (TWX) and Facebook have all agreed to use Mirosoft’s Windows Live Contacts API to, in the words of John Richards, director of Microsoft’s Windows Live Platform, “create a safe, secure two-way street for users to move their relationships between our respective services.“
In other words “Windows Live Messenger.” Certainly, it’s hard not to look at Microsoft’s announcement that way, given the simultaneous debut of invite2messenger.net, a new Microsoft Web site through which people can invite friends from participating social networks to join their Windows Live Messenger contact list.
“In completing this two-way street, both Windows Live and our partners have paid special attention to relationship context and privacy management in order to create the best possible user experience,” explains Richards. “We understand that just because people have a friend relationship with a contact on one social network, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want that same relationship on another network. To preserve the context of the relationship, we are requiring that relationships be re-established in each experience with permission from the friend or contact, rather than automatically storing the data. We encourage you to visit www.invite2messenger.net to see these ideas in action, and to invite your Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged friends to join you on the world’s largest instant messaging network, Windows Live Messenger.”