Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 - OVUM
OVUM COMMENT - Eden Zoller, Ovum Principal Analyst

Microsoft So.cl is not a fully-fledged social network and it is far too early to even suggest it could be a rival to Google+ or Facebook, and the chances are it never will be.

The fact that So.cl is targeted at students echoes Facebook’s beginnings and has made many assume it is a Facebook clone. But So.cl is, as Microsoft stresses, an experiment and designed to be layer on existing social networks. Microsoft is being sensible in positioning So.cl in this way. The opposite approach of Google, which entered social networking all guns blazing with a full on service, is having modest success.

So.cl is powered by Bing and is about social search and sharing, with little value add beyond this and no-where near the kind of features offered by Facebook or Google+. If So.cl gains significant traction, which we think unlikely, then Microsoft might well ramp up the service with additional features, particularly mobile where Microsoft can tap into the Windows Phone platform. But for now So.cl will most likely remain an experiment at heart, which is no bad thing and Microsoft will still walk away with valuable insights and experience that can help improve its overall search capabilities, which is its major priority.

-ENDS-

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