MySpace Flexing its Muscles

I have been reading a bunch of these posts about how MySpace is beginning to get a bit more aggressive in terms of blocking 3rd party widgets and content. As I wrote about in a past post, I am not at all surprised by this move. MySpace has become an increasingly powerful force in the world of social networking. They own their users and are in a good position to provide the services and applications that they believe their users want. If I were working at MySpace and were trying to figure out whether or not I would lose out by blocking third party apps, I would probably ask myself the following questions:

1. What applications could a 3rd party create that we couldn’t replicate fairly quickly? None come to mind in terms of basic applications (slideshows, video, instant messaging, etc.)

2. Does anyone have a user base that we don’t believe we could replicate with a copycat or similar offering? Probably not.

So, I am left with the real question of what incentive MySpace sees to partner with other web service providers. They seem to reasonably believe that the MySpace environment will literally make (or break) some of these products and categories — why not at least try to own them before pursuing a partnership?