MySpace Buys iLike, Thwarting Facebook
iLike, which tracks what users listen to and provides music recommendations based on that data as well as what their friends enjoy, will be unaffected by the acquisition in the short term, said MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta in a media conference call to announce the deal.
However, Van Natta indicated that MySpace would extend iLike's recommendation technology to entertainment, film, video and games, which is why MySpace and not brother MySpace Music acquired iLike.
MySpace Music is owned by MySpace parent News Corp. and is backed by record labels Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and EMI, and it was widely believed that this venture would be a more likely landing spot for iLike. MySpace has other plans for iLike.
"Music and entertainment are a very important part of people's lives and we've just begun to realize the potential of how that experience can be enhanced through technology," said Van Natta, a former chief operating officer of MySpace rival Facebook, which has more than 250 million users, or more than twice MySpace's 130 million users.
"By combining MySpace and iLike, we strengthen our ability to more rapidly create in this area. We don't have any announcements today on specific product plans, but I think you should expect to see a broader set of experiences across the MySpace applications extending out to all areas of entertainment."
iLike is also extremely popular on Facebook; some 10 million Facebook users use the application, begging the question of what will happen to iLike's integration with Facebook.
When asked how this purchase would affect iLike's partnership with Facebook, Van Natta deflected attention from his former employer and chief rival. He said iLike was an important part of many social networks and he expected social networks to be thrilled that MySpace is going to enrich iLike for their environments.
The roughly 30 employees of the iLike team, which helped the service reach 55 million users per month, will join MySpace, continuing to work from the iLike headquarters in Seattle.
This team includes iLike CEO Ali Partovi, iLike President Hadi Partovi and iLike CTO Nat Brown, all of whom have ties to Microsoft. Ali Partovi founded and sold LinkExchange to Microsoft. Hadi Partovi co-founded and sold TellMe Networks to Microsoft. Brown was an early architect at Microsoft, helping the software giant create the first Xbox.
The MySpace-iLike conference call was also the first time Van Natta addressed the media since replacing then-CEO Chris DeWolfe at the helm of the struggling social network in April. The company restructured in June, laying off more than 400 workers in the United States and another 300 employees overseas.