As Facebook’s stock continues to plummet, are executives getting desperate? Dalton Caldwell, founder and CEO of App.net, thinks so. Caldwell blogged about a recent meeting with several Facebook executives. He thought it was a friendly chat and demonstration of an application he developed on the Facebook platform. However, Caldwell claims that Facebook said his product was competition to its app center and that the company tried to bully him into being acquired.
Caldwell had no intention of being another one of Facebook’s acqui-hires, and he was annoyed when executives told him that joining the social network was the noble thing to do. He detailed the meeting in an open letter to Zuckerberg:
I quickly became skeptical and explained that I was not interested in an acqui-hire. I said that if Facebook wanted to have a serious conversation about acquiring my team and product, I would entertain the idea. Otherwise, I had zero interest in seeing my product shut down and joining Facebook. I told your team I would rather reboot my company than go down that route.
Strangely, your “platform developer relations” executive made no attempt to defend my position. Rather, he explained that he was recently given ownership of app center, and that because of new ad units they were building, he was now responsible for more than $1 billion per year in ad revenue. The execs in the room made clear that the success of my product would be an impediment to your ad revenue financial goals, and thus even offering me the chance to be acquired was a noble and kind move on their part.
Caldwell also claimed that Facebook has done this to other companies, tweeting that Foursquare was one example.
Readers: What do you think of Caldwell’s account of his meeting with Facebook?