Update: Facebook confirmed the initiative, named ‘fbOpen’.
TechCrunch is reporting on multiple sources that are saying Facebook will open source its Platform sometime this week. Basically, this will mean that any social network will be able to join its Platform, play with its code, and carry its apps — coming as direct competition to Google’s OpenSocial initiative.
Since Google’s launch of OpenSocial, there have been a lot of discussions on what Facebook’s initial response is going to be. Some have argued joining OpenSocial, or more unlikely so merging both platforms, but the most anticipated solution has been exactly this: bring other social networks into its platform, chase dominance, and pose with a direct eye-to-eye to OpenSocial.
Both ways, it seems like it is Facebook’s game to win. By keeping their platform exclusive, they ensure full control over their developers, the platform, and its limitations, and by making it open, they can open up the walled garden, fight over being a dominant platform on the web (a la the OS war), and have their apps reach more eyeballs. Since most developers will develop for both platforms anyway, the question comes down to the strategy that will best support them for the future.
More on this as an official announcement follows.