Microsoft’s joint venture Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology Co., Ltd. and Renren Inc., the leading real name social networking internet platform in China, today made a deal to offer users a seamless integration of their respective social networking services platforms. Shanghai MSN Network runs the online social networking business for Microsoft in China.
According to the partnership, MSN China and Renren will share applications and services on their social services platforms including locating and communicating with friends, single sign-on account for both platforms and real time content and status synchronization, and sharing of photos.
“We are very excited to be the SNS partner of choice for MSN China. The strategic cooperation with MSN China is a great example of how we continue our commitment to offer our users the unrivalled social networking experience. Both Renren and MSN users will enjoy the convenience and enhanced services brought by the cross-platform cooperation,” said James Liu, Chief Operating Officer of Renren.
Jiarong Chen, Deputy General Manager of MSN China, stated, “MSN has always been very selective in choosing our partners in China to ensure we consistently deliver secure, reliable and innovative online services. Today’s partnership with Renren is another strategic decision we made to keep that promise to our users, as we benefit from each other’s competitive strengths and complementary user bases.”
Earlier this week, Microsoft has signed an agreement with China Standard Software Company (CS2C), a government-owned Linux operating system provider, to provide cloud services across both Microsoft and Linux platforms. Microsoft has also partnered with Baidu to provide English language search on Baidu’s search engine.
China’s rapidly growing economy translates into a huge demand for computing, storage and social networking needs. China’s 230 million users use social networking sites regularly, and 385 million use instant messaging. Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype has marked them as one of the leading providers of instant messaging, low-cost Internet-based video and telephony services. The partnership with Renren will further strengthen Microsoft’s position in instant messaging services in China.
Skype, though still awaiting approval for its acquisition deal under Microsoft, has made a purchase of its own. The VoIP service acquired GroupMe this week, a startup company that provides free group text messaging and conference call services on mobile phones. The buy will enhance Skype’s communication services by providing the best text-based communications and innovative features and most importantly boost the sales of Microsoft’s mobile sector.
GroupMe services currently work on Windows phones, the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices. After the acquisition, GroupMe services would be exclusive to Windows phones, and Microsoft would then offer free messaging services to its users. Apple and RIM provide free messaging services through their iMessage and BBM platform respectively, while Google has Gchat with video support, as well as Google+ for various messaging needs.
As instant messaging becomes a highly integrated tool for the mobile sector, social networks are looking to gain from this boom as well. Earlier this week, Facebook launched the Facebook Messenger app for Android and iOS devices. The Facebook messenger app allows users to send SMS and provides messaging and chat functionality.