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Android and iPhone are Facebook's priorities, other platforms are second class citizens

Unless you're on Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS or Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS, Facebook, Inc. (FB) considers you a second class user.

That's the message Facebook is sending as the second birthday of its Messenger app for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Windows and Firefox approaches.

Facebook has already refused to release Messenger for alternative smartphone platforms such as Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry Ltd.'s (TSE:BB) BlackBerry 10, or Firefox OS.  Now it's preparing to further narrow its user base, by killing off support for its two most popular Windows messaging clients which interface with its Facebook Chat instant messaging system -- its standalone desktop Messenger for Windows, and its in-window Messenger browser app/extension for Firefox.

The odd part about this decision is that its clients seemed to have just improved in the last month or two with the release of a patch that made user-sent pictures and icons work properly (before only a handful showed up correctly in the standalone desktop app).

Facebook Messenger

The decision will likely disappoint Windows users as Facebook Messenger is reportedly the most popular PC messaging app.

The standalone client feels responsive and easy to use, where as running Facebook chat within a standard browser session feels far less responsive and occupies a unnecessary amount of screen real estate.

In an even more surprising move rather than simply dropping support and letting these apps quietly die, Facebook's post says that it will make them "stop working".  By the sound of it, Facebook will kill the messaging backbone for PC app clients.

Facebook Messenger Death

Currently you can access Facebook Chat using certain third party Windows messenger apps, such as Pidgin.  But the reality is that these apps often struggle to support Facebook's protocols and typically offer no support for its more advanced features such as picture/icon messaging.

In theory these could now serve as alternatives to Facebook's soon-to-be-defunct app.  But given Facebook's announcement that the desktop client will "stop working", it sounds like third party clients may lose support as well.

This is a terrific opportunity for rivals such as AOL, Inc. (AOL) (who makes AIM) and Microsoft (who makes Windows Messenger) as Facebook is basically surrendering the PC market to them.

The decision is rather baffling that Facebook would throw away popular, working products and turn away a major part of its userbase. 

Facebook believes the Windows PC is dying; mobile is the future.

But with recent acquisitions such as its $1B USD purchase of Instagram (April 2012) and its $16B USD purchase of WhatsApp (Feb. 2014) Facebook has become increasingly mobile oriented.  And it appears that it's joined the crowd of those who believe we're entering a post-PC era and is being proactive in phasing out PC support.

It's a risky move -- if Windows recovers Facebook will suffer, but if Windows dies as many believe it will, Facebook will have picked the winning team (Google and Apple).

Source: Facebook

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By Murloc on 3/1/2014 4:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
this is really bad for me because on a laptop I have the skype facebook chat integration just doesn't work so I need a separate application for facebook.

Also the skype client is buggy since it doesn't allow to send messages to people that it thinks are offline (like all mobile users who aren't listed as online but receive notifications).
I don't really care about this because I can open up the browser if it doesn't work, but I need to show online status and know when someone starts a chat with me, without having to leave the facebook page open for this.

RE: bad
By lagomorpha on 3/1/2014 5:28:47 PM , Rating: 4
Sounds like it's time to dump Facebook and change to a platform that's less centralized like XMPP.

RE: bad
By tim851 on 3/2/2014 6:55:26 AM , Rating: 3
You should have done that from the beginning.

FB might be convenient, but it's convenience bought at the expense of freedom. A compromise that never pays off in the long run.

RE: bad
By JasonMick on 3/1/2014 5:32:46 PM , Rating: 2
this is really bad for me because on a laptop I have the skype facebook chat integration just doesn't work so I need a separate application for facebook.

Also the skype client is buggy since it doesn't allow to send messages to people that it thinks are offline (like all mobile users who aren't listed as online but receive notifications).
I don't really care about this because I can open up the browser if it doesn't work, but I need to show online status and know when someone starts a chat with me, without having to leave the facebook page open for this.
I feel your pain. I'm in a similar position.

Even if I had Android or iOS I wouldn't be able to chat in my office as it's in a concrete building and AT&T gets like zero reception inside large buildings in my area.

Messenger was about the only part of Facebook I used on daily basis...

I've used Pidgin with FB and had all sorts of errors. Plus it doesn't properly warn you when messages arrive for FB for some reason (I blame FB, because it works flawlessly for AIM).

I don't know... I've been on FB since 2005. Unlike a lot of people I didn't really care that much about its "controversial" changes, although I never really partook in its time wasting additions like games.

But after all the years, I'm starting to think that Facebook is becoming more trouble than its worth.

Maybe some people can have their phone out all day at work pattering away at it, but I'm guessing most professionals are like me and don't want to make ourselves look like jacka$$es. The PC Messenger client was actually really good -- it allowed you to have messaging without it gobbling up your screen or distracting you too badly from owrk.

RE: bad
By Spuke on 3/1/2014 7:50:06 PM , Rating: 5
I didn't even know there was a Windows FB messenger app.

RE: bad
By RjBass on 3/2/2014 2:31:12 AM , Rating: 3
Same here, this is the first I have heard about it and I am on a PC every day.

RE: bad
By ppi on 3/2/2014 6:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
It rather looks the app did not generate any revenue (I do not use it, but it does not show ads in your screenshots). That would be fairly valid reason to kill it (though better alternative would be to monetize it).

I also read the link you posted, and it is study of *smartphone* owners. Isn't it possible that while people chat over facebook in Windows, they do it via browser rather than the app? I cannot imagine anyone stopping support of something with significant user base.

Well, they're not wrong
By SPOOFE on 3/1/2014 6:54:24 PM , Rating: 1
If you choose to adopt a platform with a tiny install base, you inherently accept that it will be a less desirable platform for developers. I'm all in favor of multiple platforms, but acting like WP7 is an equal to Android or iOS in terms of users is just plain ridiculous.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By p05esto on 3/1/2014 7:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's Win8 .... not 7

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By SPOOFE on 3/2/2014 12:03:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, typo, my bad.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By sgestwicki on 3/2/2014 11:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
The article is saying that Facebook is killing the Windows OS app which does have a significant install base. I can understand them ignoring Windows Phone but to ignore the Windows OS is really surprising expecially because they just got the app working well a couple months ago.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By SPOOFE on 3/2/2014 4:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Large install base, but miniscule need. Perhaps they saw insignificant adoption. The bottom line is that dedicated apps are more important on a performance constrained system. I still think it's insignificant, and certainly not deserving of the "second class citizens" garbage.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By sgestwicki on 3/2/2014 6:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'll have to take your word for it because I don't use Facebook. I did tell my wife about this and she said that even though she uses Facebook on her Windows machine she only uses messenger in the browser window so that is one anecdotal vote for you.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By datdamonfoo on 3/3/2014 11:59:15 AM , Rating: 3
Except they're killing the Windows app, not the Windows Phone app (which they've never supported). Windows has billions of users. There is no logic in this.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By SPOOFE on 3/3/2014 3:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
Windows also has a significantly smaller need for a dedicated app for what most users access via web browser. The "second class citizens" moniker is nonsense; if anything, it's the app-centric platforms that are treated as second-class.

RE: Well, they're not wrong
By Alexvrb on 3/8/2014 4:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
Actually there's a Facebook Messenger app for WP8. But rather than kill off the Windows 8 standalone, why not just add a banner ad?
By tim851 on 3/2/2014 6:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
You can chat from within your FB account. What seems to be the issue here?

By Murloc on 3/2/2014 7:24:43 AM , Rating: 2
having an icon in the systray that tells you someone just wrote you and being able to click on it to respond, without using up desktop space or having to open, is really useful.

By stephenBA on 3/2/2014 10:56:16 AM , Rating: 2
You get all of that with the Facebook app

By Murloc on 3/2/2014 1:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
I have Windows 7

By kmmatney on 3/2/2014 2:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's even worse than using the website - it's a silly Metro full screen App.

By stephenBA on 3/3/2014 2:04:59 AM , Rating: 1
Metro apps don't have to run full screen. Just drag it to the side with mouse or finger. I almost never use Facebook app dull screen. I just put it on like 15% of my screen for messaging

By stephenBA on 3/2/2014 10:54:52 AM , Rating: 2
Hello! Facebook updates their windows app almost every week!! They are clearly invested in windows and are NOT killing support for windows users at all! I use their windows app for messaging every single day. I just snap it to the left side of my monitor and then go to messaging. And I keep my desktop on the other 3/4 of my screen. It is a great experience. Its clear that Facebook just didnt want to develop that and their old desktop program at the same time, which makes perfect sense.

By amanojaku on 3/2/2014 11:16:43 AM , Rating: 5
You need Windows 8 to run this. What's the usage share on that again? 10%? In comparison, Windows 7 is just under 50%, and XP is just under 30%. Doesn't sound like FB is supporting Windows if it's abandoning close to 90% of the Windows desktops.

By SPOOFE on 3/2/2014 11:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
O if only there were some other way to Facebook chat on Win7! Alas, alas, what ever will we doooooo?!?!?!

By Aloonatic on 3/1/2014 4:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
...after they bought WhatsApp?

Not sure this is a big deal
By amanojaku on 3/1/2014 6:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Ignorant as I am of Facebook (never signed up) I don't see this as a middle finger to MS and Windows. Windows is the only desktop OS that has a Messenger application (everyone else got the middle finger). Firefox is the only web browser that has a Messenger plugin (everyone else got the middle finger).

From a development perspective, Messenger doesn't need the performance offered by a standalone application or plugin on the desktop. This appears to be a natural contraction of development resources, focused around native-ish apps for popular mobile operating systems, and web browsers for everything else. If anything, this looks like a renewed effort to standardize on HTML 5.

They just announced WP8
By Labotomizer on 3/1/2014 8:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
Coming out in a few weeks. They announced it at the MWC. So I don't think they're refusing to support it.

Blame Microsoft
By NovoRei on 3/2/2014 8:28:20 AM , Rating: 2
If MS hadn't screwed up MSN, the fragmentation seen today would be much smaller. They had the knife and cheese at hand and lost both.

So, this is odd...
By datdamonfoo on 3/5/2014 10:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
Despite what this article says, Facebook has just today released the Facebook Messenger App for Windows Phone 8. So it looks like they're still supporting non-Android, non-iOS products after all.

Good riddance
By sirius4k on 3/6/2014 1:47:02 AM , Rating: 2
FB should remove its crap everywhere.

So what?
By p05esto on 3/1/14, Rating: -1
RE: So what?
By Chaser on 3/1/14, Rating: -1
RE: So what?
By RjBass on 3/2/2014 2:33:49 AM , Rating: 2
You're a moron.

RE: So what?
By NicodemusMM on 3/2/2014 2:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with RjBass on this one... you really must be a moron.

Just a disclaimer... I don't use FB. I deleted my account (yes, I know they keep the info) and setup one with no identifying info, no friends, no f'ing game requests, etc. for use on sites that force FB sign-in. Years ago FB got me in touch with people that I hadn't spoken to in 15 years, otherwise I had/have no use for it.

Even with the above in mind, considering regular FB users to be douches is... disturbing. I'm guessing your post is simply a troll. In that case -1 to me for replying. Otherwise, your post smacks of elitism, unadulterated ignorance, and blatant stupidity while at the same time filling me with joy that people like you (based solely on your comment) aren't in my life aside from random tripe at the bottom of a Comments section.

In short, thank you for helping me remember the people at the bottom of the barrel, indicating how much it must suck down there, and reinforcing how much better it is up here.

Thank you for your time.

As always...
By Motoman on 3/1/14, Rating: -1
RE: As always...
By Murloc on 3/2/2014 1:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
derp do you understand that facebook is nothing but a chat and group messaging client to most users?

RE: As always...
By Motoman on 3/2/14, Rating: -1
RE: As always...
By NicodemusMM on 3/2/2014 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'll simply refer you to my reply to "p05esto". It may apply to you as well. Actually, it's even more likely that it does as the sole point of your post was to condemn people that use FB. At least he/she tried to indicate the virtues of WP8 while denigrating people for no reason.

RE: As always...
By Motoman on 3/2/14, Rating: -1
RE: As always...
By amanojaku on 3/2/2014 9:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
And nothing screams "I'm a worthless loser" more than being a loyal Facebook user.
Many things, actually. For example, insulting people you don't know just because they enjoy something harmless.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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