Windows 8 users are getting at least one thing crossed off their wishlists today: At the Microsoft Build conference, CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 8 is (finally … belatedly) getting an official Facebook app.
It’s big news for Microsoft that Facebook is going to build a native app for the operating system – it’s surprising it took so long, of course, because of the partnership between the computing giant and the social network. That deal has meant that Facebook defers to Bing as a search client, and that Microsoft weaves Facebook into a great many of its products. But until now, it hasn’t meant a native Facebook app.
Windows 8 users will be happy to get the real deal and say goodbye to knockoff versions of Facebook they’ve been stuck using. The app roster for Windows 8 still pales in comparison to Android and Apple, but Facebook was possibly the most egregious omission from the lineup, so it’s very significant that Zuckerberg and company are finally treating W8 like a major platform. The hope is, of course, that apps like Vine and Instagram will follow suit. In fact, the rumors that Facebook-owned Instagram will hit the platform soon have been building in recent months, and it’s difficult to imagine that Facebook will keep it’s photo (and now video) sharing app away from W8 for much longer.
There’s no set time frame, so Windows 9=8 users shouldn’t expect to see the Facebook app pop up in the marketplace right away. But the app should be worth the wait; Tech Crunch’s Josh Constantine tweeted that Facebook will be building the app in-house rather than letting a third-party build an “official” platform as they have in the past.
And an official Facebook app wasn’t Ballmer’s only announcement; Windows 8 is also getting official versions of Flipboard and NFL Fantasy Football, further bulking up W8’s formerly anemic app collection.