I agree, the letter makes it sound there isn't anything serious going on. And the general skepticism here on HN seem valid. But if a FB exec informally threatened to revoke API access, then it's a whole different picture. This little detail deserves a bit more visibility.
But they suggested they were wiling to compensate Dalton (by buying his company) which makes it decidedly less uncool.
P.S. did people here believe before this story broke that Facebook would never revoke API access when it is in their strategic interest to do so? What did Facebook say or do to give off that impression? Is this an industry norm I am not familiar with?
An awful lot of startups these days are created on top of an existing giant's rather volatile shoulders: Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, heck even Gree and Zynga. The APIs and platforms are a rat trap for developers, but the massive userbase is oh such tasty cheese. Most hope to be quick enough delivering value for a buyout to make more sense than a shutdown, but few can pull that off.
Absolutely right. The only difference between alleged platforms is how the platform owners treat their devs. All platform companies face the same issues of balancing developer trust and the ensuing added value and their own strategic imperatives but not all platform companies are alike. Companies can have very different cultures and very different attitudes to third parties with whom they have business relations. The fact that they CAN turn on their own on a whim doesn't mean that they have to or WILL. So stories about the documented behavior of any such companies are very valuable to devs.