When Bebo launched their platform last month, I suggested that we were witnessing the beginning of the social platform wars. It now appears that Facebook may have already won the first platform war. If you were expecting a massive transfer of developers over to the Bebo platform, you would have guessed wrong. So far 1375 applications have launched on the Bebo platform. Of those, only 358 were launched this month. If this isn’t a bad omen, how about the fact that their platform has experienced the most downtime of any social network this year to date.
I spoke with a number of developers that are on both Facebook and Bebo and the overall response was slowing growth and not enough integration points in contrast to Facebook. Without developer evangelists that support the Bebo platform it will be extremely difficult for their platform to experience the monstrous growth that Facebook has since the launch of their platform.
The largest test of the platform wars will be the roll-out of the MySpace and Orkut platforms at the beginning of next month. During March we will see the first test of OpenSocial and whether or not it can live up to the hype. So far it has been frequently criticized due to the challenges posed to developers. If you write a MySpace application you can’t simply port it to Orkut. Instead you need to modify portions of each application. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in March.