Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Mary-Jo Foley shows stunningly inept judgement

with 13 comments

Mary-Jo Foley has commented into the potential Twitter purchase by debate by declaring that Microsoft shouldn’t buy Twitter because:

Microsoft could simply do a Twitter clone … and reap similar results


Does MJF honestly think that anyone (not just Microsoft) could whip up a Twitter clone and beat them at their own game? That assertion is, to me, just laughable. Building a Twitter clone would not be supremely difficult for a half decent group of developers but that is not the game here. Twitter spotted a niche, exploited it, and as such now have the membership and the mindshare that means a Twitter-clone will simply never compete. Innovation is the means by which companies succeed on the web, not cloning.

I take issue with quite a bit of what Mary-Jo Foley says and generally choose to keep my council however in this case I feel that she is so acutely wrong I am duty-bound to point it out.

If questioned “Should Microsoft buy twitter?” my answer would be “I have no idea”. If Microsoft DO make an offer though I hope the strategy is something other than “we have to stop Google getting their mitts on it”.

I think a better strategy for Microsoft would be to say to Twitter “We’ll buy a stake in you, you stay independent, but come over and run on Windows Azure!” That would stop Google getting them and buy Microsoft some much needed mindshare for their upcoming Windows Azure platform.


Written by Jamiet

April 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. For once (and I realise this is fairly rare) I completely agree with you Jamie! I haven’t actually read MLF’s article but I will do so. However, I do agree that they shouldn’t even consider making a similar application. Twitter is unique and Microsoft are often accused of cloning this or cloning that. You are also right about Innovation. I also agree with your suggestions for stratergy as well. Good topical post.


    April 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

  2. I am honored to be considered not just inept, but stunningly inept. :)And I totally stand by my post: Twitter is incredibly overrated. It is a feature turned into a company. It would be a nice win for Microsoft if Twitter were hosted on Azure. (And I offer a few other ideas for what MS could do with Twitter in my "stunningly inept" post, too….)I feel as though folks who have found Twitter fun and interesting have very cloudy judgement around what it really is… and what it is really good for. But again, as I admit, that is just my opinion…. MJF


    April 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm

  3. MJF,Well, I’m honoured that you even bothered to come by here. Perhaps I’ll choose my words more carefully seeing now I know there’s a chance you might stumble on this. :)Thanks for taking the to comment – most wouldn’t given the title of this blog post.-Jamie


    April 3, 2009 at 4:10 pm

  4. Nah, no harm done. … I saw your post via the news feed on Live — another example of a case where Microsoft cloned a feature from another vendor to embed in its existing products. :) mj


    April 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

  5. Touche :)


    April 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

  6. Well blogged, Jamie. Thumbs up to ya!


    April 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

  7. interesting post, however why does m need twitter when the messages applied to messenger and windows live are a similar to that of twitter!?


    April 4, 2009 at 12:18 am

  8. Gaz,Because no-one uses them in the same way that Twitter users use them. Plus Messenger doesn’t keep a history like twitter does.-Jamie


    April 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

  9. True enough, but they still appear in Windows Live – surely not a huge changein order to be able to keep a history of them? Grandted they’re not used the same – but with the links of status between messenger and facebook – I dont think MS really needs twitter to be honest.


    April 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

  10. Twitter is unique in the respect that while you can follow/be followed, elements of Twitter search (hash tags, at replies, retweets) are very open and give you the ability to "feel the pulse of the community" in a way that WLM and other elements of WL can’t quite match (yet). MJF is correct that Twitter is more of a "feature" that has been turned into a company, but you could say the same for a number of Web 2.0 services. To call it a "feature" is to downplay its importance. Several of my friends are active tweeters, and we swap tips and tricks, discuss various Twitter tools and clients, and have even begun evangelizing it to our company’s executive leadership.


    April 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

  11. The most interesting thing about Twitter is it’s momentum, and it’s adoption by the masses and the celebrities. I don’t meant to belittle it though, because it’s value from this is making it more viable for social media marketing, and it is becoming more useful in a general business sense. If you look at it like that it has less to do with the technology and eveything to do with it’s current market position (as Jamie states). And the "real-time" data they have is making search.twitter.com more relevent for certain searches than google or live search – this is really interesting I think. I have actually taken to using Twitter Search quite a bit for very timely info (e.g. who’s winning the f1, what’s the buz at Mix, what’s happeing on the ground at the g20) – you can’t get this elsewhere…


    April 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

  12. You’re spot on Jamie. I think MJF has a lot of great insights usually, but she missed this one completely. The technology already exists to build a twitter clone – heck, you can even build one using the Google Apps Engine (Jaiku was ported to it). Twitter has already achieved a critical mass. You only need to be on one microblogging platform – there’s really no need to be on multiple twitter-like clones. Same goes with search, I only need to use Google and it doesn’t matter what Live Search does.


    April 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

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