Is Facebook Giving Away Its Competitive Advantage?

Is Facebook Giving Away Its Competitive Advantage?

Facebook is sharing its data center secrets again. Where some might question whether the company is giving away its competitive advantage, Fool contributor Tim Beyers sees a smart business strategy.

The latest giveaway? A new version of Flashcache, software for managing huge volumes of information across databases. Facebook first talked about the project in 2010. Now, in a blog post, engineers are revealing more about how the newest software works and what results to expect. Facebook is effectively teaching partners, competitors, and start-ups how to more efficiently run a data center.

Releasing such a key, technical piece of its competitive advantage should be troubling. And it would be, Tim says, if the open source movement didn't work. Because it does -- participants share in pursuit of technical achievement on a global scale -- Facebook can expect to reap as much as it shares, and perhaps more. The result? A smarter, leaner, more effective data management operation capable of producing more profits.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you believe Facebook's insistence on giving away its internally developed tricks for improving data management amounts to forfeiting a competitive advantage? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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