Microsoft Adds Facebook, MySpace To Outlook


The Outlook Social Connector, a new feature in Office 2010, blends social networking updates into the business functionality of the software. With Outlook Social Connector, a user can view an e-mail message and social networking activities from the same sender in the same window pane. For now, though, it doesn't allow posting updates back onto LinkedIn or other social-networking sites directly from the inbox.

After announcing a partnership with LinkedIn last November, Microsoft on Tuesday said it has inked similar deals with Facebook and MySpace. Office 2010 is currently in beta and Microsoft plans to release it to manufacturing by June. Facebook and MySpace plug-ins to Outlook Social Connector can be expected by the time Office 2010 hits the shelves, according to the Associated Press.

In a Tuesday blog post, Microsoft said the LinkedIn partnership, which was the first add-on for Outlook Social Connector, lets users access their LinkedIn accounts and view contacts' profiles alongside their e-mails. Additionally, contact and network information is all synced to users' inboxes. Developers can build connections to third party social networking feeds using the Outlook Social Connector SDK.

Microsoft is making a broad push into social networking, but some solution providers still aren't convinced that the technology can actually help businesses run more smoothly.

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"Personally, I don't think there's any room for these kinds of tools in a place of business, and would prefer to keep Outlook a business tool," said David Grantz, CTO of, an Albertson, N.Y.-based hosted mail provider. "There's no need to integrate social media into the workplace any more than it already is."

Microsoft in October 2007 took a $240 million equity stake in Facebook -- representing 1.6 percent -- that valued the social networking company at $15 billion.