Blog Post

Yahoo Announces OpenSocial Support; Joins Google, MySpace To Form Non-Profit Foundation

An interesting turn of events on the OpenSocial scene, with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) agreeing to embrace the Google-backed social app distribution platform. Yahoo, Google and MySpace have agreed to form the OpenSocial Foundation — “an independent non-profit entity with a formal intellectual property and governance framework” — and to add related assets by July 2008. The online home for the foundation will be www.opensocial.org. (It’s currently housed on Google, but since part of this seems to be about shifting OpenSocial away from a Google-owned image, that could change.) Release.

In keeping with the open theme, the three have published their “intent” agreement complete with a clause that says “Neither this Agreement nor any OpenSocial Specification (or any portion thereof) is confidential.” They’ve also started an open invite list for those interested in getting involved. The first three to sign up are the guys who signed the agreement — Jay Rossiter, SVP, Yahoo; Amit Kapur, COO, MySpace; Jeff Huber, SVP-engineering, Google (NSDQ: GOOG). No, Facebook and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) aren’t on the list but, hey, the day is young.

From the foundation proposal: “… the OpenSocial Foundation will be structured to include both corporate and individual representation, and to foster a transparent and participatory community for the purpose of providing equal access to specifications published by the OpenSocial Foundation, at no charge.”

Update: Joe listened in on the conference call, which included Yahoo’s Wade Chambers evading the question of whether Yahoo’s willingness to get on board was predicated on the establishment of a non Google non-profit foundation.

Revenue: They don’t expect the OpenSocial Foundation to receive any revenue, but if it did, it would be used to promote the standard, MySpace’s Steve Pearman joked that perhaps the foundation could sell OpenSocial t-shirts, a la the ever-popular Firefox apparel.

Microsoft-Facebook: No welcome mat laid out, only some vague comments about being open to more partners.