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7/18/2011
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Microsoft To Launch Social Networking Site?

Leaked "Tulalip" project may be a response to Google+, but for now Redmond is playing it coy.

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Microsoft over the weekend posted, then quickly yanked, a Web page that appeared to show that the company is working on a new social networking service.

The page looked like a landing site for a service called Tulalip, which touted the integration of search and social networking functions. "With Tulalip you can find what you need and share what you know easier than ever," said text on the non-working page.

The page appeared on the URL Socl.com, which Microsoft acquired last year, according to Internet records.

By Monday morning, Microsoft had pulled the page and replaced it with one that offered the following cryptic explanation. "Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the Web," the new page said. "We didn't mean to, honest."

The Tulalip leak may have indeed been in error. But it also may have been a ploy to generate buzz around a new social networking platform Microsoft may be planning. Conspiracy theorists who favor the latter scenario are pointing to the fact that the "leak" came less than three weeks after Google launched a public trial of its own social networking site, Google+.

Google+ lets users create profiles, share photos, chat through voice and video, and create contact groups known as Circles. Microsoft may feel it needs to respond, particularly given that the search giant is expanding into Microsoft strongholds like office applications, browsers, and operating systems through cloud-centric offerings like Google Apps, Chrome, and Android.

As for the current king of social networking, Microsoft's Tulalip project does not appear to take direct aim at Facebook. In fact, the mockup that appeared briefly displayed a Facebook sign-in icon, as well as one for Twitter--indicating that the service may be intended to work with existing social networks.

That stands to reason. Microsoft and Facebook have partnered on a number of Internet services. Most recently, Facebook announced that it would integrate Skype VoIP calling directly into its pages. Skype will become part of Microsoft once the software maker's $8.5 billion deal to acquire the company closes. Microsoft has also integrated real-time Twitter feeds directly into its Bing search results.

Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment.

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2011 | 10:15:21 PM
re: Microsoft To Launch Social Networking Site?
I think Microsoft is just being true to long-standing form, although it is no longer a matter of all other companies surrendering once Microsoft newly enters a market they are in (as it was in the past).

Tulalip. I wonder ... Access to Facebook, Twitter, et. al from within Microsoft apps such as Web-based Office and SharePoint? Hmm ...

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2011 | 3:13:25 PM
re: Microsoft To Launch Social Networking Site?
Is it just me, or is Microsoft showing up late to alot of 'parties' lately, and then expects everyone to drop what they're doing and fawn all over them? MS used to be the company that people scrambled to catch up to -- nowadays it seems like many of their products or ventures are 'answers' to someone else's already released item.

Tom LaSusa
InformationWeek
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