Parakey Wanna Cracker?

With every passing development, Facebook is acting more and more like an organization that wants to go public as a stand-alone company. If this summer's job opening at the company for a stock administration manager doesn't convince you, maybe a little bird can tell you.

Facebook is acquiring Parakey, a company run by co-founders of the Mozilla Firefox Internet browser. With its irreverent "give your computer the bird" tagline, Parakey is developing a Web-based operating system. Yes, the same guys who have put a dent in Internet Explorer's plans for global domination are now out to outdo Windows. I guess they won't be invited to the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) social mixer.

The purchase is awkward because Microsoft signed an ad distribution deal with Facebook last year. To be fair, the Parakey platform isn't initially targeted as a Windows killer. It is more of an application itself, playing Cupid to a more harmonious relationship between desktop and cyberspace. When I wondered if Facebook was "the next Microsoft" two months ago, I didn't mean it literally.

The purchase doesn't mean Facebook is diving headfirst into the tricky operating-system space, where even the mighty IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) has come up short and the economical no-brainer of the open-source Linux has been a tough mainstream sell. It is essentially buying two sharp techies and the open-ended potential of applying a cool Web-based technology to Facebook's growing community.

That is one thing that Facebook has done exceptionally well lately; opening up its platform for monetization to third-party developers has attracted the likes of Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , Warner Music (NYSE: WMG  ) , and the Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO  ) . 

In concert, this has to have Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) kicking itself for blowing a shot at acquiring the social networking site last year. Then again, it's hard to chase a Parakey owner when you're fighting for your life like a canary in a coal mine.

Well done, Facebook. Go ahead and file for that IPO and relieve us all of the suspense already.

Other Facebook snaps:

Yahoo! and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a selection in the Inside Value newsletter service. Feed your inner parakeet with a free 30-day subscription to either newsletter, with no cages attached.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if loners embrace social networking. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy, and it sings like a bird.


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