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Sunday, May 27, 2012

How Facebook Can Recover Its Brand: Partner With Microsoft To Make Business Social

Image: Screenshot of blog post by Garrett Smith for voipsupply.com (blog), August 11, 2011, "The Microsoft-Skype Deal Was About Facebook The Whole Time." Apparently other people are thinking the same thing that I am: Combine them. Except they're missing one crucial element - use the combination to turn the workplace social.
This is going to be a short blog.

Wrong approach: Figure things out about people and put customized ads in front of them.

Right approach: Partner with Microsoft and get Facebook inside every business in America and around the world, as the internal collaborative social network. (Kill off, absorb, replace Sharepoint.)

The workplace is the great unexploited center of value and profit. It can be leveraged much more fully to bring employees together to generate ideas, work more closely on projects, and align corporate culture for greater productivity, engagement, stability - RESULTS.

Organizations are more willing than you might think to open up the floodgates of open conversation internally. The obstacle right now is that they don't understand the technology and they worry about security and controls.

But if Microsoft were to get involved then businesses would be reassured that the collaboration technology would be safe, secure, and trustworthy. As the old saying goes, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." (Except now it's Microsoft)

At the same time, Microsoft has lost its luster and is perceived as a clunky old fart of of a brand.

If Microsoft were to partner with Facebook to achieve serious business objectives, it could reinvent itself through the synergy and become cool again.

Microsoft and Facebook.

(And eventually Skype - not as a personal social accessory for cheap calls but as a way to videoconference the world.)

Together they could reinvent social, reinvent business, and take some dying, losing brands back up into the stratosphere.

Is anybody listening? Hope so.

Good luck!

Update 10:14 a.m. EST May 27: Just discovered this article on ZDnet describing the somewhat complicated relationship between Facebook, Microsoft and Skype. As well as this blog post regarding Microsoft's possible aims for Facebook and the idea that it's using Skype to get an "in" to the company. Am I the only person who sees the potential here to "invade" the workplace and make Facebook-for-work common? Perhaps the only thing missing is a brand name? Wait, here's an idea...acquire Yammer!