Developers can now use Facebook login inside their Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications, helping users move from the start screen of an app and into its use more quickly.
The move lowers the profile of Microsoft Accounts inside of the Windows experience on smartphones and computers, while granting a boon to developers whose users likely already have Facebook accounts, and want to dive into new applications more quickly. As Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet points out, “Facebook Login is meant to be used alongside and/or as an alternative login option to Microsoft Account. It’s not designed to replace Microsoft Account logins.”
Microsoft directly cited a reduction in “friction” as something developers desire. The more steps the fewer signups, as we all know.
As a former and current shareholder, Microsoft is close to Facebook. However, the move is a surprise because it reduces, in a way, the status of Microsoft Accounts on the shared-Windows ecosystem. Certainly, you still need a Microsoft account to download applications and the like, but to grant Facebook login capability across applications will bring the social network to the fore of what I suspect will eventually be the majority of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps.
However, Microsoft is doing better growing the number of Microsoft accounts than it is growing its developer ecosystem on its new platforms, so helping the latter even if it slows the former is a fine gambit. Anything that Microsoft can do to entice, delight, and retain developers is likely something worth doing, given the company’s market position.
Foursquare, iHeartRadio, and Adobe are among companies that will use the new capability.
The Facebook login integration for Windows 8 is ready to go now, while the Windows Phone edition of the integration will be in beta starting today, for no more than 60 days. Microsoft needs more and better apps. This is one way to help spur development. We’ll be watching the numbers.
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