Facebook at Work: LinkedIn Meets Office 365, Google Apps?

So, Facebook is preparing a business edition of its social network. But it sounds like the so-called Facebook at Work platform is more than a LinkedIn alternative. Some pundits are suggesting that Facebook at Work will potentially compete with Microsoft Office 365 and Yammer, Box, Dropbox, Google Apps, Slack, and other cloud productivity applications. I'm inclined to think that's exactly the case.

Consider the following business reality: Most of your peers already talk about business travel, IT conferences, corporate awards, and more on Facebook. Now, the social media giant wants to give you a purpose-built network -- Facebook at Work -- for those business conversations.

Admittedly, dozens of companies -- from Salesforce.com Chatter to Microsoft Yammer and Novell Vibe -- have attempted to build Facebook-like services for corporate customers. But maybe the best company to build Facebook for business... is Facebook.

News about Facebook at Work surfaced this morning in The Financial Times. Facebook has no comment. But the web is buzzing. As Wired put it:

"As a consumer product, Facebook has to compete with every other app on the market for users’ already limited attention. But if Facebook could be the engine running the workplace, then it would have a captive audience, which would make the platform all the more appealing to its true end users — advertisers."

And therein resides the challenge. How will Facebook potentially monetize Facebook at Work, if such a platform exists? And how will Facebook help users to manage their internal and external business groups -- especially as employees job hop from one company to the next?

So many questions. But the business concept gets an immediate Like from me.

Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.