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'Dear Mark Zuckerberg': Developer fights back against Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Is Facebook threatening to destroy app businesses if they don't go under the social network's name?

Talent and product deals have been heating up for Facebook over the past six months. But now things are getting really interesting.

Dalton Caldwell, a Silicon Valley veteran whose past experience includes co-founding iMeem and PicPlz, has posted an accusatory account of his recent negotiations with top Facebook executives: Caldwell says Facebook told him they offered to buy an app and service he was building, implying they would “destroy [his] business” if he didn’t sell.

Facebook declined a request for comment.

'I had zero interest in seeing my product shut down and joining Facebook.'

- Dalton Caldwell

A bit of context: Caldwell spent the past year building his application for the Facebook Platform via his App.net start-up. He says that over the course of that time he was assured by Facebook’s developer relations employees that, when Caldwell was ready to launch the product, he would get top-level support for his application.

Problem was, Caldwell says his app was a competing product to something Facebook was already working on: App Center. And in the meeting, Facebook made it clear to Caldwell in no uncertain terms that this was the case. Intimating that Facebook would have no problem competing with Caldwell’s “interesting product,” Facebook offered him an alternative, Caldwell says: An “acqhire.”

“I said that if Facebook wanted to have a serious conversation about acquiring my team and product, I would entertain the idea,” Caldwell wrote in his post. “Otherwise, I had zero interest in seeing my product shut down and joining Facebook. I told your team I would rather reboot my company than go down that route.”

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