Microsoft says Facebook Home is “remarkably” reminiscent of Windows Phone
Facebook Home is an Android add-on that’s all about putting people ahead of apps. That concept, and implementation unveiled alongside the HTC First Facebook-oriented phone, sounds awfully familiar to Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft vice president of corporate communication.
Shaw posted to the Microsoft blog that the theme of Home’s presentation yesterday was “remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.” He then went on to list several ways in which the ‘people first’ mantra embraced by both Microsoft and Facebook makes more sense than having a grid of app icons and communication tools with similar functions being walled off from each other. Shaw argues that Windows Phone showed how it makes more sense to integrate SMS with social media and show updates from people rather than apps, a core strategy to Facebook Home.
“Millions of Windows Phone owners have already discovered how great a phone can be when it’s designed this way, and they aren’t shy about telling their friends. Naturally, some of those friends have been pretty frustrated that they haven’t been able to get a ‘People First’ experience on their devices.
So, we understand why Facebook would want to find a way to bring similar functionality to a platform that is sadly lacking it.”
A neutral observer can see why Shaw might feel that Facebook Home is just an attempt to deliver the same concepts introduced on Windows Phone. However, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. Facebook isn’t trying to be the all-encompassing integration of your many connections; it’s trying to be the epicenter of your many Facebook connections. Windows Phone ties into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, and SMS. Facebook Home ties into Facebook and SMS. There’s no motivation for Facebook to attempt to merge your varied methods of communication or social activities. Home has some similar implementations, but it is about promoting one source and one source only, which is a direct antithesis to what Shaw suggests Windows Phone attempted to do.
Drew Bamford, AVP of user experience at HTC, found Shaw’s entire premise to be without merit. Following the publishing of Shaw’s statements, Bamford tweeted:
“Hilarious that Microsoft is claiming to have invented the people-centric phone. That was our big focus at HTC when we launched Sense in 2009.”
Shaw remains convinced that Facebook Home is just a misguided attempt to deliver the “seamless experience” already available on Windows Phone. The sad thing, for Microsoft, is that even if he is right, Facebook Home may be used by more people than Windows Phone.