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Did Microsoft Over-pay For Facebook?

TIME commented: "The dotcom bubble just got bigger than ever."

The i-Technology Blog

When Microsoft parted with $240M for a 1.6% stake in a company with $140M in revenues and $30M in profits, was it over-paying? Conspiracy theorists were quick to say that the move was deliberate, to inflate the overall value of Facebook to $15BN and thereby prevent anyone else from buying it outright. TIME commented: "The dotcom bubble just got bigger than ever."

Typical of the reaction to the news last week that Microsoft was taking an equity stake in Facebook were the comments that quickly began appearing on Slashdot:

"they put Facebook's value at $15 billion to discourage others from investing in Facebook and make Facebook beholden to them.' (gbulmash)

"Absolutely correct. Not only will others potentially stay away, but it poisons Facebook themselves and creates a strong risk of complete implosion, which MS can use for leverage. Once a line is drawn in the sand, it engages the ego and creates strong psychological need to hold it, and if it starts slipping, it could exacerbate a dramatic downward spiral." (anonymous)
Darren Ginter saw a more purposive explanation. "Microsoft needs to get Silverlight out there. $240 million to Facebook is the cheapest method of getting hundreds of millions to install and use it, willingly," he opined.

Facebook is almost certain to try an IPO, which makes the Microsoft move all the more interesting. It immediately made the value of co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's stake worth $3BN, for example.

Certainly Facebook seems to be sucking users away from MySpace. But as one Slashdot commenter warned, "This feels like 1999 all over again."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
leechar 11/21/07 09:09:24 PM EST

It's a Silverlight play primarily. Microsoft is positioning Silverlight as the Mashup tool of choice but it needs to make it's download runtime pervasive, something similar to Flash, and this cannot take years. A growing, hot Social site like Facebook is the perfect deployment platform for distribution. Facebook is already committed to Silverlight.

But it is also a move to slow down Google, that is how afraid it is of Google in the Social Web.

MSFT vs GOOG 10/28/07 06:29:27 AM EDT

Google might know something about Facebook that Microsoft does not.

queZZtion 10/28/07 06:13:29 AM EDT

So FB's now the fifth-most valuable internet company after Google, eBay, Yahoo and Amazon?

TooLitleTooLate 10/28/07 05:42:28 AM EDT

MS panicked and overpaid, just like it panicked and overpaid when in May it bought AQuantive for $6BN.