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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 25, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Facebook scores ex-Microsoft, Google, MySpace talent

Facebook’s Seattle office is getting an infusion of local tech talent with the acquisition of Rel8tion, a Seattle mobile advertising startup formed last April.

Rel8tion was developing a mobile ad platform that was going to analyze place, time and context to deliver relevant brand ads to mobile applications and sites.

But it looks like Facebook was after talent as much as any intellectual property that Rel8tion had developed in its brief life.

The team includes Peter Wilson, a former Microsoft manager and director of Google’s Kirkland campus, who will now become engineering director at Facebook’s Seattle office, which opened in August. Wilson had been consulting with Facebook.

Also moving to Facebook is Nat Brown, a former Microsoft architect who went on to become iLike’s chief technology officer. He became vice president of technology at MySpace after it acquired iLike in 2009.

Facebook spokesperson Jonny Thaw wouldn’t provide details beyond a statement:

“We’re excited to confirm that we recently completed a talent acquisition of Rel8tion, a stealth-mode startup in Seattle. The engineering team will join our growing Seattle office, and we’re looking forward to having them on board.”

The deal was first reported by AllThingsD, which characterized it as Facebook acquiring a stealthy startup.

It reminds me of Google’s purchase last September of Plannr, a Capitol Hill venture by two ex Microsoft developers who working on schedule management products. It was acquired before much happened with the product.

Are these startup deals, or really lucrative signing bonuses?

Thaw wouldn’t discuss it but said via e-mail that “this is primarily a talent acquisition.”

Comments | More in | Topics: Facebook

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