“Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms”, Facebook employee speaking to the New York Times, 27th May 2012
Following up on an earlier post in February where I commented on Bret Taylor’s speech at MWC about standardising the mobile web, it seems that Facebook is indeed setting itself on a path to developing a mobile OS. It makes a lot of commercial sense…
For the consumer, Facebook offers a platform that is truly social and fits ideally with a personal communications device like a smartphone.
For Facebook itself, control of the platform is becoming an increasing priority as Google and Microsoft position to extend their operating systems in to the TV space, creating the first multi-device platform for app creators and consumers across all 4 screens (mobile, tablet, web and TV).
Facebook doesn’t want to be just another app on a platform controlled by its competitors, particularly if their competitors are able to demand a commission on transactions or record consumer behaviour. Facebook wants to become the default home screen and app store on the mobile, defining our experiences and linking them back to our social graph.
Dare I suggest they might extend these ambitions to the TV screen? As much as I’d be intrigued by what a Facebook TV might look like, I can’t see them developing an OS and competing toe-to-toe with Google TV/Android anytime soon. Facebook can already create highly compelling social TV experience by partnering with existing rights holders and building social experiences off the back of the content consumers know and love, without entering the expensive content acquisition market. And they can offer valuable consumer data back to broadcasters.