Facebook to Open to 3rd-Party Developers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Facebook was founded by Eric Zuckerberg and Dustin Muskovitz in 2004.

    Ever-popular social networking site Facebook is expected to announce changes today that will help expand the site into an all-purpose Web destination.

    The Wall Street Journal reports Facebook will announce it is opening its system to third party developers. The move would allow you to access Facebook through programs other than your Web browser, much the way you can get a Twitter feed through various platforms and programs.

    The Palo Alto-based startup has so far recruited about 65 companies to create software for the Facebook Platform, which will be opened up to any company starting Thursday night.

    The company's 23-year-old founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said Thursday the move was similar to what Microsoft Corp. did decades ago, when the relatively obscure software maker began encouraging third-party companies to write programs for its personal computer operating system, reported MSNBC. The strategy made Microsoft phenomenally profitable and helped turn founder Bill Gates — like Zuckerberg, a Harvard University dropout — into world's richest man.

    "Until now, social networks have been closed platforms," Zuckerberg told about 750 programmers attending the company's first developer conference, dubbed f8. "We're going to end that."

    The best known third-party contributor so far is e-commerce powerhouse Amazon.com Inc., which is allowing Facebook members to publish book reviews on their profile pages. The feature will debut later this week.

    The change would catapult Facebook's usefulness past its rival MySpace.