[OpenID] A lesson from history for Facebook

Santosh Rajan santrajan at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 01:23:23 UTC 2009


Back in the mid 80's Apple launched their now popular Apple Mac with the Mac
OS. The Mac OS was the first GUI based OS on a personal computer. All
Microsoft had was the rickety MSDOS. Microsoft was caught napping. It took
Microsoft 10 years (windows 95) to come out with something equivalent to the
Mac OS! Their earlier attempts, windows 3.0 and 3.1 being failures.

Working in favor of Microsoft was the fact that MSDOS was open, and could be
used by any hardware vendor, while the Mac OS used the proprietary Apple
hardware. 

Apple had a choice to make. Open up Mac OS to all hardware vendors or stay
proprietary. They chose to stay proprietary, keeping the price of a Mac
higher than a equivalent PC. Apple could have really trashed Microsoft if
they had opened up Mac OS to the hardware vendors back then.

By the late 80's Apple was inching closer to bankruptcy, while William Gates
was laughing all the way to the bank!

Facebook is pretty much faced with the same situation as Apple back then, as
far as their Facebook Connect is concerned. They can choose to Open it up by
supporting OpenID or stay proprietary. Only this time they have a bunch of
contenders to deal with instead of just Microsoft. 

Of cource the circumstances for Facebook are different today. But the
underlying strategic mistake made by Apple cannot be missed. I hope Facebook
learns from the past, and chooses to support OpenID as an OP, before it is
too late.



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Santosh Rajan
http://santrajan.blogspot.com http://santrajan.blogspot.com 
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