Zuckerberg steals another idea. This time from a company called Memolane.

Posted In Mobile Web - By Ryan On Saturday, September 24th, 2011 With 0 Comments

What is it with this kid? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg clearly can’t come up with his own ideas, so he depends on either screwing his partners over, or stealing an entire company’s raison d’etre to get ahead. It’s daylight robbery. Again.

His latest act of concept larceny involves a company called Memolane and a little thing Facebook has just launched called Timeline. Facebook describes Timeline as “tell(ing) your life story with a new kind of profile”. The Timeline contains separate boxes of info, allowing you to “share and highlight your most memorable posts, photos and life events on your timeline – this is where you can tell your story from beginning, to middle, to now”.

Now kids, if we simply point our browsers to memolane.com, and read their ‘What is Memolane?‘ page, raise your hand if you think any of this sounds familiar: “Collect your memories into stories. Invite your friends to contribute. Share everything with anyone. Capture all of your great memories from photos, music, video, tweets, status updates, blogs, and so much more. Search your entire online life, memories from friends, and publicly available memories. Search for and add your friends”.

Isn’t that dandy? Memolane launched in April 2010. Zuckerberg was quoted at the F8 launch of Timeline as saying that they’ve been working on Timeline “all year”. So Zuck is now asking us to believe that when they kicked off their initial work in Jan 2011, they had absolutely no idea that this other service (called Memolane) had been live for eight months and had a product (with a Timeline at its core) that aggregated social media (into items called Stories) that focused on people reliving their history through social media (called Memories).

This is very sad news for the guys over at Memolane. Though when reading through their Twitter account, they’ve described the theft as flattery, explaining that their service allows you to include many social media services on their timeline, with Facebook just being one of them.

That may be the case but Facebook now owns the concept of a timeline, thanks to their overwhelming penetration in the market and sheer industry muscle. They’re big enough to steal ideas in front of 750 million witnesses and get away with it. They’re nothing more than a secretly insecure bully on the playground, tripping people up at the shins for a laugh (and a profit). Their behaviour cannot be excused or condoned. For Memolane’s sake, I hope that they have the resources and chutzpah required to sue the pants off Zuckerberg. I can’t see this not ending in an out of court settlement, with a confidentiality clause to protect even further embarrassment for the Facebook f(l)ounder.

But even if the Memolane shareholders come out smiling, this approach to idea sponging is extremely disconcerting. In the past, if you (as a business owner) identified something that another company had, or was doing, that you wanted to own, you’d make an offer to acquire – or merge with – said company. What Facebook has done here, in effect, is take the idea for free upfront and leave it up to the bleeding victim to scrape together the finances required to sue them, hoping that the settlement figure in the end is going to be less than the acquisition would’ve cost them in the first place.

Nice one Zuckerberg. While celebrating your latest conquest with shots in the Facebook bar, your parents must be very, very proud.

Now let’s play a game called Spot The Difference. Compare Memolane’s video and Zuckerberg’s F8 announcement of Timeline below.

About - With at least 20 phones tucked away in drawers around the house and office, Ryan is a buy-to-try mobile consumer and loves playing with new handsets. Right now he's stuck on the iPhone 4.

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