TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reported on Friday that Facebook would be developing an IM service, to premiere as early as this week. Naturally, as Arrington pointed out, this would not bode well for the existing third-party chat apps already in use on Facebook. Arrington’s sources say that Facebook’s IM would eventually be Jabber-compliant (ie open source and compatible with existing chat clients like Trillium).
A day later, the ever-reliable Valleywag reported that Facebook was in talks to acquire Social.IM, one of those third-party chat apps (which happens to be privately funded, as well). However, they updated their story when the CEO of Mogad (Social.IM’s owner company) said that “If we’re being bought, I haven’t gotten the call yet.”
Social.IM poked fun at the acquisition rumors with a graphic in a now-deleted post on their blog:
CNET’s Caroline McCarthy speculates that the fake IM conversation was removed because it subtly hints that the acquisition will occur. I can’t say I know that to be true, even after searching my feelings, but I can say that every simulated conversation on the Social.IM site and blog uses Star Wars dialogue, so we might be reading a bit much into the conversation to take it literally.
Inside Facebook points out that
all your communication are belong to Facebook Facebook wants to be your source for all communications with your friends, and chat would be a great way to do that.
Until we get an announcement from Facebook, of course, we won’t know what’s really going on. While a foray into IM would dovetail well with their overall efforts, that doesn’t necessarily mean instant success.