SUNNYVALE, California: Yahoo, currently under takeover siege by Microsoft, has joined Google and MySpace as a partner in the OpenSocial Foundation.

The not-for-profit body has been set up to promote common standards for social networks, especially cross-platform compatibility for third-party widgets (add-ons).

Facebook, the other major player in online's current flavour of the month, remains aloof from the alliance, preferring to paddle its own widget canoe.

Last May it launched the Facebook Platform, allowing outside developers to offer small applications such as games and music services within its portal.

Yahoo's sudden enthusiasm for the OpenSocial project - and the concomitant ties with two other web giants - may owe less to its concern for third-party widget developers than to a desire to create extra hurdles for Microsoft to jump should it decide to go hostile with its bid.

Speaking Tuesday on a conference call to analysts, Yahoo vp of platforms Wade Chambers denied any such intention. As the butter melted in his mouth, he told the moneymen that even Microsoft would be an appreciated partner in the foundation.

"Any large player should be welcome to participate and we would welcome them participating.”

  • Meantime, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are down to their last $13 billion due to the continuing decline in Google's share price.

    At the stock's peak in November, the value of the dudes' individual holdings exceeded $21 billion. Now that Google shares are trading below $500 (they lost $9.78, or 2%, to close at $450.78 on Tuesday) the respective wallets of Page and Brin are now around $8bn lighter.

    However, the pair doubtless gained some solace when drawing their annual salaries for 2007. Each took home a single solitary greenback.

  • Data sourced from Financial Times and Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff