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Microsoft, DataPortability.org, Chalk, and Cheese

It's great to hear that Microsoft is joining DataPortability.org. I think this group has potential; if nothing else, it's a useful forum for interested parties such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to openly discuss policies that will benefit all of our users.

I was a bit disturbed to find some spin in Dare Obasanjo's commentary, though. He says:
... The fact that when interoperability happens, it is in back room deals (e.g. Google OpenSocial, Microsoft’s conversations with startups, etc) instead of being open to all using standard and unencumbered protocols is similarly troubling.
Whoa, let's deconstruct. This associates OpenSocial and Microsoft's "strong-arm" tactics by putting them in the same list, trailed by 'etc' to imply that these are just a couple of typical examples. Slap parentheses around it, and label the whole list "back room deals". Maybe no one will notice that you've just conflated chalk and cheese:

The chalk: OpenSocial is comprised of a bunch of companies and individuals all working together on a common set of standards for social networking. There is an open source reference implementation hosted by the Apache Foundation in which anyone can participate. (Dare, if you're not feeling invited, please contact me directly!)

The cheese: Microsoft is sending cease and desist letters to startups who are importing contacts from Hotmail, which are then used as leverage in back room deals to try to get the startups to use Microsoft's Messenger IM service to the exclusion of competing services.

Let's skip that though and talk about open and unencumbered protocols. Dare, I agree with you that we need these. I think that things like OpenID and OAuth are building blocks towards this, and I hope that we can discuss some of the hard issues at Social Graph Foo Camp. In the front room, of course!

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