Everyone is jumping on the Facebook "open platform" bandwagon, but LinkedIn can at least say it was among the first to issue copycat-intent statements shortly after the Facebook event. Richard MacManus covered the possibilities offered by a LinkedIn platform here in June. Now LinkedIn CEO Dan Nye has done an interview with the New York Times where he laid out some of the vision for the company's upcoming outreach to outside developers.
It won't be a very warm welcome compared to the Facebook lovefest. Though this should be unsurprising, LinkedIn's platform will require permission from the company before developers can get in on the action. Though Facebook apps do need to be added by Facebook to the app directory, a quick look through there shows that the bar is low enough that it may as well be open to all.
I've talked to many companies holding out for a future opportunity to score real estate on LinkedIn profile pages. Nye says in this interview that the average income of a LinkedIn user is $140k per year - it's a real injustice that such high-quality human beings won't have easy access to all our widgets.
LinkedIn will focus its platform on letting developers tie LinkedIn functionality to outside services (Salesforce is the example given, surprise surprise) and to adding buttoned-up business functionality to LinkedIn itself.
It's Not a Social Network!
Nye also told the Times that LinkedIn doesn't consider itself a social network, either. That's funny, that's what Facebook loudly insisted on to its developers pre-platform launch, too. They weren't allowed to mention MySpace or the phrase social networking in their PR. Facebook is a social utility - they insisted. That was an eye-roller at the time and sounds even sillier now.
We'll see what the LinkedIn platform looks like when the rubber finally hits the road, but when it happens - don't quit your day job to be a LinkedIn app developer.