(Adds details from conference call, company comments; changes
dateline, previously NEW YORK)
SAN FRANCISCO, March 25 Yahoo Inc YHOO.O said
on Tuesday it supports a program by archrival Google Inc
(GOOG.O) to develop applications for social networks and will
help create a joint foundation to keep it alive.
Google launched its OpenSocial network in November to lure
developers already creating popular Web applications on social
networks like Facebook.
Many social networks, including News Corp-owned NWSa.N
MySpace, Friendster and hi5, support OpenSocial, a set of
technological specifications that lets software developers
build applications such as games and photo shows that can run
on any social network.
The scope of OpenSocial is increasing and OpenSocial
applications reach more than 200 million users, Joe Kraus,
Google's director of product management, said on a conference
"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far,
go together," Kraust said of the OpenSocial effort, which is
currently endorsed by more than 15 companies.
Yahoo, Google and MySpace also said on Tuesday they will
create the OpenSocial Foundation to maintain a neutral,
community-governed forum for developing applications. It will
be set up as a nonprofit entity, with assets to be assigned to
the new organization by July 1.
"Common specifications are beneficial to the developer
community at large and encourage innovation" and eventually
enrich the Web experience for people, Wade Chambers, Yahoo's
vice president of Platforms, said on the call.
He declined to provide specific examples of how Yahoo plans
to use OpenSocial applications.
Facebook, which got $240 million from Microsoft Corp
(MSFT.O) last year, has not yet endorsed OpenSocial. It offers
its own specifications for application developers.
Yahoo is also the subject of a $42 billion hostile offer
from Microsoft, which has not signed on to OpenSocial either.
But Yahoo's Chambers said they would welcome Microsoft or
any other company that wants to sign on.
"Any large player should be open to participate," he said.
(Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Michele Gershberg, editing by