I’m a little annoyed at the fact that people consider it news that giant companies aren’t producing new ideas. Ultimately, there’s a reason we talk about Apple, Facebook, and Google instead of Palm, MySpace and Webcrawler, even though the latter three came, if not first, at least before the real breakout. The fact is, optimizing the formula is much more valuable than coming up with the idea in the first place. This is one reason designers and marketers can, if they’re good, get paid significantly more than engineers.
As for Facebook’s acquisition story, it is cheaper to buy than to build, especially if you’re in a product environment with short lifecycles and you happen to have piles of cash. Surprise, surprise. Hearing about Facebook Creative Labs is heartening, but R&D still is driven by dollars, and since Facebook is selling their subscribers, I doubt we’ll see anything good there (other than new ways to make us think we should surrender personal information).
I may be a Facebook user, but due to their network effect monopoly, I certainly don’t have to like it.