Actually, I don’t know how, but Xobni apparently does: Bill Gates presented Xobni for Outlook as “the next generation of social networking” (is that why he quit Facebook?) at the Microsoft Office Developers Conference yesterday (video here).
Now, let’s think for a minute. What does it mean when Bill Gates presents your product, a super-cool Outlook plugin to his crowd of developers?
- Gates’s message: now go back and copy this fast. That would be the classic Microsoft style, as many software startups can attest to. It would also put the market introduction to somewhere … around 2015? Unlikely.
- Microsoft will acquire Xobni in no time. Sweet and fast deal. Congratulations to the Xobni team and investors!
Update (2/15): Xobni has a new CEO: Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo’s vice president of social search until now. Did he just escape from one Microsoft acquisition and get into another one?
Update (3/2): TechCrunch has sources confirming the Microsoft negotiations.
Update (3/20): Bob Warfield believes Microsoft is about to close the deal with Xobni.