MySpace hits Facebook with iLike app

21 August 2009

NEW YORK: News Corporation's MySpace has stolen a march on bitter rival Facebook with the $20m (€14m, £12m) purchase of iLike, one of Facebook's most popular music applications.

Facebook recently overtook MySpace, once the most popular global social network, which was bought by News Corp. for $580m (€407m, £350m) in 2005.

But under new CEO Owen Van Natta, a former Facebook executive, MySpace is fighting back by targeting the consumption of entertainment products including music, films, television and video games. Last year the company announced a joint venture with a number of big music labels.

The problem for Facebook is that iLike is its most popular music application and it also serves as the social network's default music application. It is also integrated into Facebook's popular News Feed which may result in Facebook driving traffic to MySpace.

Announcing the purchase, Van Natta declined to comment on how iLike's relationship with Facebook would develop but said that both businesses shared a "belief in open content distribution".

"The web is moving from a centralized experience to one where people want to interact in many different places," he added.

Founded in 2006 by brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi, iLike claims to attract 55m total users and 1.5bn impressions a month.

This is the second big payday for the entrepreneurial brothers. Ali founded and sold LinkExchange to Microsoft and Hadi co-founded and sold TellMeNetworks, also to Microsoft.

Data sourced from Financial Times and Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff