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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
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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bad
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 (blog) on 3/1/2014 5:32:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


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