Wave 3 - A Tad Too Late?

by Sachin Balagopalan on November 13, 2008 · Comments

Microsoft last night launched Wave 3 and in the process “formally” entered the wide world of social networking - well sorta!. They have managed to integrate the social networking component rather seamlessly and that is not surprising given the fact the social graph already existed in terms of Hotmail, Messenger and Live Spaces. With Wave 3 they have combined all these services and “profileized” them. Users now have a profile that receives updates from all these services in addition to a FB style live news feed. Yep better late than never as one might say! I won’t be giving up my Facebook account anytime soon however but in all fairness the thing looks pretty slick with a bunch of new features like photo sharing and an opt-in feature where users can have their news feed updated from parter sites like Twitter and Flickr.

The big question is will Microsoft be able to give FB, MySpace and others a run for their money? IMO it’s doubtful they will. In spite of all the nice bells and whistles I don’t want to “manage” yet another social network account and I certainly don’t want to switch over from FB since I have an established network of friends over there. Perhaps if all my friends decide in unison to make the switch then I will too but that is highly unlikely. Also let’s not forget Microsoft’s investment in Facebook last year which negates any direct competition with them.

All is not lost however. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Microsoft has a huge user base - hundreds of million if not more that subscribe to Hotmail and Messenger. It’s probably safe to say that a sizable percentage of that user base are not on any social network yet. This might be an opportunity to lure those users in.

I think they have entered the game a little too late.

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