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Facebook Has Reached Its Microsoft Bing Moment -- History Shows the Results Won't Be Pretty ( 150

As we noted recently, Facebook continues to duplicate every core feature that rival app Snapchat adds to its service. A new report, which cites multiple Facebook employees, sheds more light into how Facebook operates. The company, the report claims, created a "Teens Team" to figure out how to grab teenagers back from Snapchat, and has been up front about its tactics within the company: The internal mantra among some groups is "don't be too proud to copy." Matt Rosoff, an editor at CNBC says this whole tactics by Facebook is nothing new in the tech industry. From the article: Flash back to the early 2000s, when Microsoft was the undisputed king of the tech industry, with two unassailable monopolies -- operating systems and productivity apps for personal computers. It faced a lot of competitors, but the one that scared it the most was Google, which was in a completely different business. Google didn't start by creating alternatives to Windows and Office, although it did so later. Instead, it created a suite of online services -- first search, followed by email and maps -- that threatened the entire purpose of a personal computer. Why rely on Microsoft software running locally when you could get so much done with web apps? Microsoft's response? Trying to build the exact same service that made Google famous -- a search engine, first known as MSN Search, later rebranded to Bing. Eleven years later, Bing is a small minority player in search, with less than 10 percent market share on the desktop and less than 1 percent in mobile.
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Facebook Has Reached Its Microsoft Bing Moment -- History Shows the Results Won't Be Pretty

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  • Bing? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Best porn image search engine there is. Beat that, Google!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ironic that Facebook isn't learning lessons from the masters of copying ideas.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:49PM (#54217269)

      No not really. There are also many instances where copying a competitors product became widely successful.
      VisiCalc to Lotus 123 to Excel
      WordPerfect to Word
      MySpace to Facebook
      I can keep going but There are many companies who just happens to get their version at the right time and market to the right group of people to make their obvious copy the more successful product.

      • There are also many instances where copying a competitors product became widely successful.

        And that can happen without even killing the original, which is smart, because you can copy from it multiple times: Mac to Windows PC.

      • I can keep going but There are many companies who just happens to get their version at the right time and market to the right group of people to make their obvious copy the more successful product.

        So how do you know which will succeed and which will fail?
        I only have a sample size of two teenagers (plus their friends), and it's Snapchat 2, FB 0 here. So it appears to be a fail from where I sit.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Sometimes copying is working, sometime it isn't.

      But either you are proactive or you are reactive in the market. Being stuck on reactive use means that you will always be behind and as soon as you have caught up with the competition the customers have already moved elsewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I use MySpace, so I avoided all this drama.

  • So I still don't have a facebook account.... can I stop wondering do I or don't I?

    • So I still don't have a facebook account...

      I know that's very "hip" to say, but I'll bet you're a liar.

      • by WallyL ( 4154209 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:23PM (#54217015)

        I didn't have a facebook account before it was cool!

        • I had a facebook account to play farmville. Actually... I had 5 facebook accounts to play farmville.
          And then one day facebook wanted to nail down who I really was. And I stopped using facebook.

          That must have been over 5 years ago.

      • Why? I don't have a facebook account either. Nor does my wife. Admittedly I don't know many people who don't have a facebook account, but there are some of us out there!

        On the other hand, my teenagers do have facebook accounts, but they don't use them anymore. They and their friends have fully moved over to other social media platforms and openly mock anyone who does use facebook.

    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:34PM (#54217115) Homepage

      So I still don't have a facebook account.... can I stop wondering do I or don't I?

      If you don't have a facebook account, facebook still has an account on you. Opening the account is the only way to get control of privacy settings to limit what facebook publishes of personal data on you.

    • by Raenex ( 947668 )

      do I or don't I?

      Ok, you're "that guy". When you get a Facebook account, it will reach the tipping point and implode. So please, get a Facebook account.

      • by irrational_design ( 1895848 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @06:53PM (#54218139)

        According to my teenagers and their friends it already has imploded. They simply don't use it anymore. They've move on to other social media platforms. If you are cool, you don't use facebook.

        • It's cute that teenagers still think they're the centre of the world, meanwhile Facebook is moving on from pure social networking and starting to absorb special interest groups from blogs, forums and mailing lists.

          • Except teenagers won't always be teenagers. One of my kids is in college and the other will be starting college next year. They have friends on social media all over the country and none of their friends use facebook anymore. This is the next generation of adults who are eschewing facebook.

          • Teenagers are the center of the advertising world and Facebook runs on advertising.
        • Agreed, my niece and nephew said the same thing about 2 years ago, they might go on to share some pics etc. but for the majority of stuffs they don't touch facebook. Facebook is officially for old timers in their eyes, and if you don't think this matters much, think again. NO ONE has as much free time as a teenager.

          Makes me laugh actually, hind sight being 20/20 and all that, I did not realize that school wasn't all that bad in comparison to the hamster wheel that is work. They can't wait to get out of
        • I haven't seen a drop in facebook, just a new generation that has no interest in starting it.

          And can you blame them? The one rule of social networking is don't be on the same social network as your parents. Facebook reaching such critical mass is exactly its own undoing.

  • Or maybe it's the other way around? Maybe all these little nothing apps want to be Facebook?

    Seriously, why is there a;; this bitterness when Facebook adds a totally obvious feature that some Wannabe IPO thought they had exclusive rights to? Please...

  • by A5un ( 586681 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:16PM (#54216965)
    Remember WhatsApp copying Blackberry Messenger? And all the iterations of IM app from ICQ, AIM, etc?
  • Teens have zero money. I would focus on the bigger market.
    • by e r ( 2847683 )
      Those teenagers will grow up and get jobs (eventually).
      • But by that time everyone will be using MyBookPlusChatGram.
      • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:31PM (#54217077) Journal

        ...and by then they'll be using something else (maybe).

        When I was a teenager, BBS (and if you were lucky and your parents had a uni account, IRC and NNTP) was about as close as you could get to a social network.

        But, old people stuff aside, look at progression here: NNTP, IRC, basic web forums, ICQ groups, PHPNuke forums, MySpace, Facebook, Snapchat, ...?
        (or similar, YMMV.)

        Odds are perfect someone else may come out with yet another means to communicate in groups by the time today's teenagers are old enough to drink.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Teens have zero money.

      Except the ones who get an allowance.
      Or ones who get lots of checks from relatives for birthdays/holidays.
      Or have part-time jobs*
      Or are part of rich families that will buy them whatever they want.

      * -- personal anecdote: I started working in some form at the age of eleven, and was employed continuously until I lost a job in my 20's.

    • You monetize the platform.

    • Individual teens have a little money. At it is all burning a hole in their pocket, ready to be flung at whoever can tickle their fancy. It may not be humongous, but it is easy money that adds up.
    • They sell ad impressions, not products. Therefore, all they care about is that X% of ad impressions that could have been sold on their platform went elsewhere, and they want them back.
  • Apples to Oranges (Score:5, Informative)

    by wired_parrot ( 768394 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2017 @04:18PM (#54216975)

    Eleven years later, Bing is a small minority player in search, with less than 10 percent market share on the desktop and less than 1 percent in mobile.

    The summary appears to imply that Bing went from being a major player to a small player in the search engine market. Bing has always been a minority player. The reality is that the 10 percent market share represents growth, considering that Bing was a non-existent presence in the market 11 years ago, so the analogy is fatally flawed.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This. Microsoft was never a leader in a search. Facebook is the current leader and has been for while (in number of users) in social networking and messaging. It's not a real parallel, so there's no lessons to learn from Bing's "history" as the article would have us believe.
      • A more appropriate analogy would be Hotmail vs Gmail. And yes, Microsoft didn't go down without a fight, but their fight just wasn't anywhere near being good enough.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Hotmail's anti-spam features paled in comparison to GMail. I think that's a big reason Hotmail went down.

        • how the hell is Hotmail a good comparison, Hotmail is still wildly successful, albeit under a different name
          • So... what's the other name? I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't use gmail or a work email address.

            •, still has in excess of 400 million active users.
              • still has in excess of 400 million active users.

                I can back that up. I probably have created 2 dozen accounts there each year for close to 2 decades when ever some stupid site wants me to register so I can see or buy some stupid thing. Repeat the next time I want to see or buy something.

  • You can't just copy your competitor and expect their userbase to come back to you, and why would they when they already have what they want with Snapchat? You need new ideas, and I don't think Facebook is capable of that if all they can do to fight back is steal other peoples' ideas.
    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      In percentage and absolute terms, Google is more profitable than Microsoft, which "only" earned $17B net income on $85B sales.

      Facebook, though, kept 37% of it's $27.6B last year. If this is the future, then FB will be raking in the cash for decades to come.

  • The company, the report claims, created a "Teens Team" to figure out how to grab teenagers back from Snapchat,

    In related news, an "Ex's" group is created and meets to figure out how to lure back the person that left them. Reports indicate that candy and presents will play a predominant role.

    Let's see, I'm a teen, my parents and relatives are all on Facebook and I'm going to actively use the platform why?

    • No kidding. That and every freaking thing that you comment on or like gets broadcast to all of your friends/family/coworkers. So I just stopped interacting with Facebook, which means I just don't go there any more.
      • And for the love of god, stop changing the default search order. Just put the things that I've liked (And not the things you think I'd like) in chronological order.
        • by timftbf ( 48204 )

          This. Every change to Facebook, and in particular to the iOS app, seems to make it a little bit harder to either get to the chronological or view, or to stay there. I couldn't care less about what's "hot", I want to see what's been posted since last time I looked.

          • So delete your account and use something else. Your continued use is a message to FB that what they are doing is ok.
  • Look, no matter how much you talk it up, it's not a thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems every day there is another story on /. about Facebook copying Snapchat. No new information about it, really. Just more complaining.

    But really Facebook's approach is the right one based on game theory. When you're in a race and you're behind (like Snapchat is in user base), it's in your best interests to innovate to try to make up the distance. When you're ahead, it's in your best interest to maintain the status quo, and do exactly what your rivals do so that you maintain your lead while minimizi
    • Furthermore, even if copying Snapchat is not a winning strategy, there is no way to know that at this point in time. It might be a winning strategy. FB can well afford to be a follower in this footrace, lacking an obviously better strategy. Maybe that is not very inspired, but it is practical and may turn out to be good enough to sweep the table.
  • MS was still around.
  • As I recall, (and somebody can correct me if I'm misremembering), when Netscape came out with their browser, Microsoft pooh-poohed the whole thing publicly while scrambling to put together Internet Explorer. Employees at Netscape were really worried about Microsoft with good reason. Then Microsoft bundled IE with their OS so naturally users of MS automatically started using it, and that was the end of Netscape, the innovator.

  • After the way Facebook has influenced politics around the world, Facebook's end can't come sooner.
  • The issue with Microsoft, Facebook, and increasingly, Google, is that they have no intention of respecting their users. People feel locked in to Windows and Office, and would gladly jump ship due to Microsoft's abusive attitude, if only they could. Network effects keep a lot of customers stuck there. If people felt good about Microsoft, they'd use Bing and be happy.

    The same goes for Facebook. They could have treated their users (note I don't say "customers") well, and they wouldn't face such a challenge fro

  • by hduff ( 570443 )

    When will Bing run on my Zune?

  • Bing is still up and running?

  • Without a search/directory tool, much of the web we want to access is inaccessible.

    Original post compares this to a photo-swapping app that allows you to put cats ears on people, as if that's somehow a commercial threat.

    Now either Snapchat thinks Slashdotters are a viable market for their nonsense and are chucking Bizx a bundle for fake content... or one of the editors really likes those cat ears.

  • While the desktop FB client is relatively free from the Snapchat nonsense the phone app is becoming horribly cluttered. Seemingly everyday a new "feature" is added that takes away from the core FB concept and relegates that screen real estate to functionality the FB client is not seeking.

    In short, FB is running the very real risk of alienating adult users who simply do not care about all of shiny objects and prefer simplicity in their lives.

  • "Good artists copy, great artists steal."
  • ... it's a global mental illness.

    That aside, we all know that what Facebook does should be a regular Internet protocol and service and not some commercial website. The only reason FB took off and still is going strong is because E-Mail and Usenet and to some extent IRC are so very shitty and we, the Inet and FOSS community haven't built a viable modern communication service yet.

    And no, Diaspora is an implementation of a non-service and not really a replacement. Yet.

    Once a protocol and service that does what

  • SC are trying to be a social networking company now and FB is trying to be an image sharing service.

Only God can make random selections.