Microsoft slams Facebook Home over lack of originality, tells customers to upgrade to Windows

by: Bogdan BeleApril 8, 2013

Facebook Home Android

The Facebook Home Android launch has triggered a pretty strong reaction from Microsoft, in an article that executive Frank X. Shaw posted on the official company blog.

Shaw says that Facebook’s event has made him check his calendar a few times to make sure he wasn’t still in 2011, hinting at the similarities between Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 presentation and what Mark Zuckerberg and his employees showed off on Thursday. You can watch Microsoft’s WP presentation below, so you can decide for yourself.

Putting people first

Microsoft’s slogan, “Put People First”, and what Mark Zuckerberg said about “phones designed around people first” are indeed similar. Facebook’s idea of building a smartphone around people, not apps isn’t that original either. But the attack on Android that followed seemed a little out of place.

Shaw’s post says that Microsoft understands why Facebook would bring similar features to a platform that doesn’t have them, but that Android is complicated enough without putting another skin on a custom version of it (the OS has been tweaked to ensure the best experience). He finishes by suggesting users to try the “real thing” by “upgrading” to Windows Phone.

[quote qtext=”We understand why Facebook would want to find a way to bring similar functionality to a platform that is sadly lacking it. But as Android owners know, that platform is complicated enough without adding another skin built around another metaphor, on top of what is already a custom variant of the OS.” qperson=”Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft” qposition=”left”]

While it remains to be seen whether users will “upgrade” or not, Shaw’s attack sounds suggests that Microsoft is unhappy about having one of its ideas (or part of it) appropriated.

With that said, it’s hard to say whether Microsoft would have been willing to change the experience of Windows Phone for Facebook (even if the Windows Phone 8 lock screen is customizable and already allows showing Facebook pictures without unlocking it).


At Home on other platforms

In an interview for Wired, Mark Zuckerberg suggests that Android was chosen because, despite Facebook’s relationship with Google, which isn’t a great one, the two companies share an open philosophy. The fact that Android is open allows Facebook to build great experiences. He also said that it could increase Android smartphone sales (which is probably the reason why Google has accepted it in the Google Play Store, considering the company’s response to the Facebook announcement).

The Facebook boss also added that, while Facebook has a “pretty good” partnership with Apple, Tim Cook’s company “want to own the whole experience to themselves”, and that he couldn’t say whether the same experience would ever be available on the iPhone. However, Zuckerberg didn’t hide his love for the iPhone and the fact that he would like that to happen.

While Facebook and Microsoft might patch things up in the end, it’s pretty safe to assume that BlackBerry, whose app market has grown a lot (with a significant number of apps ported from Android) would be interested to get in on Home (or a similar partnership with Facebook), should that be possible.

Do you think Facebook Home will make its way to other platforms?

  • Rob Triggs

    “But as Android owners know, that platform is complicated enough ”

    As opposed to the hassle free experiences we’ve all had with Windows drivers and pointless features like UAC? Yeah right Microsoft.

    • MasterMuffin

      And actually WP is pretty complicated and confusing after you’ve used to something else (don’t know how it would be if it was your first phone).

      • LAKAME

        I mean how the hell is an OS without a proper notification center not complicated?

    • Eaa

      You’re mixing up OSs.

      • Rob Triggs

        I know the article was about Windows Phone, but I was making a more general comment about MS calling out Android for being “complicated”.

        For example, I had a ton of trouble with my old Acer Aspire netbook thanks to Windows Vista. My Android tablet on the other hand is much more user friendly.

  • iago

    Isn’t the question Microsoft should be asking themselves: why, two years on, no one noticed a similarity?

  • Not a big Facebook user so I don’t really care about Facebook Home. However I do get a good laugh at Microsoft once again trying to slam the competition. Android is way less complex than WP8. In my opinion it is the easiest mobile os to learn and use.

  • christopher rizzo

    You know what is complicated? Trying to find apps on Windows Phone.

  • Rishank

    I think microsoft meant downgrade to windows

  • There’s only a few small problem about “upgrading” to Windows Phone, there aren’t any meaningful apps / eco system surrounding it, and it’s no where near as customizable as Android. Heck, I could make my Android device behave like a Windows Phone OS device if I so choose (or iOS, or WebOS, or Ubuntu, or … )

  • Johnny 5

    LOL and MS was expecting originality from Facebook? Not That MS is the monarch of orginality, but to critize FB… I don’t think people who live in glass building should be throwing stones.
    Not fan of Facebook (infact it’s boycotted in my household), But I really think software companies should get over themselves. Sure they all come out with the an initial product, but it’s really the beta testers and consumers that bring all the features, ideas and tweaking to the forefront or in FB’s case don’t listen to your users just spy on them and their use for more ideas. Frankly I couldn’t trust Mark Z if my life depended on it.

    I’ve heard good things about Andriod but alot of them float around personal use, I get the sense it’s not ideal for business, I could be wrong. As for Windows 7.1 or Windows 7.5 didn’t like the OS at all. Windows 8 I will admit is closer, but the tile approach was NOT original either and for that both MS and Rim should be slammed as I believe Apple was the first to bring it in. I will say that windows 8 pro joined up to the domain on a decently sized tablet (I’m using a 11.6″ tablet) is awesome.
    Overall in the grand scheme of things the finger pointing can go around countlessly to the point that they all might as well be pointing to themselves.

  • lol goes to prove that even if Facebook home stinks people will buy it over windows!

  • Arsenal™

    haha downgrade to windows? Not a chance! The only windows im ever gonna use is on a pc

  • Every headline about Microsoft just makes me laugh, they are so pathetic that it’s funny!

  • Jim

    I think Microsoft as a whole has a comprehension problem.

  • maiten

    shows that Microsoft feels threatened by Facebook Home,
    perhaps it’s really that good :)

    must give it a try,
    it’s rare that an android launcher can make microsoft feels insecure.. :D

  • bonzo11

    Hi- resident MS astroturfer here- I recently upgraded to a (random windows phone, pref Nokia) from an (android or iOs device). I love its simplicity and you can never take it away from me- WP is getting bigger by the day. All my friends are jealous.