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Facebook Messenger + Instagram + Opera + Bing Maps + Skype + Facebook AppStore = Facebook Phone

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Facebook + Phone = Phonebook ?

Naw, they'll come up with something more clever than that...

How about Phatbook?

Wait, Facebook is thinking about acquiring (270 million user strong) Opera?!

But... But... Facebook Director of Products Blake Ross built Firefox!

And Facebook VP Engineering Mike Schroepfer used o work or Mozilla!

Why would they turn their backs on Mozilla to buy Opera?

Oh, right. This isn't about the Web. This is about mobile.

Game on, Google. Game on, Apple. Facebook is getting ready to rumble.

If Facebook really does go into the hardware business, investors should run screaming.

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Analysis from Mathew Ingram on why this big move could be a big mistake:

Let’s start with the currently vogue meme that Facebook seems to be a pretty poor ad platform.

It is however it’s way too soon to start killing off the world’s largest and most successful social network. What they still have, is a massively popular platform.

Apple took advantage of it’s sexy hardware, silky OS and it’s 100 bajillion credit cards (iTunes accounts) to create a compelling platform where developers make money and users are estatic.

Facebook has obviously has the users. It has a nascent currency and a poor app ecosystem. Facebook is only missing the hardware and the content.

Putting the pieces together:

  1. Facebook will create foundation for it’s ecosystem to thrive: this means it needs a facebook-based desktop app and it’s own mobile hardware.
  2. Facebook will then convince mobile developers to start building instapaper/tapbots quality tools on it’s platform rather than farmvilles and casino games. In an app store, Apple has proven that quality control is important to the health of the ecosystem.
  3. Facebook will improve the quality of it’s ad performance. This means that they need to draw users without engaging them. Passive users are more susceptible to advertising. This means that we will see ad-supported Facebook Radio and Facebook TV/Movies. TV is the ultimate in passive audience. This is why they charge so much. It just works. If Facebook had an extensive library of video content, it would bridge the gap between internet style user-targeting and TV style passive-audience advertising. Netflix and Hulu have no idea who you are. Facebook does. This is a killer 1-2 advertising punch. But they need their own hardware first. It’s likely a phone, but don’t be surprised when they launch tablets, and TV integration or set-top boxes as well.

A thriving app eco-system combined with an strong content library tied to a terrifyingly effective ad platform would easily justify FB's valuations.

Lastly MarkZ himself has mentioned that mobile is where the future of Facebook is at.

If the CEO is spouting that off now, that means that he’s been thinking about it for quite some time. The only question is the company in a position to reinvent itself as such.

If the Facebook phone is just an android variant with facebook version of the contacts and calendar app, then I’ve given the company way, way too much credit.

If Facebook really cared about mobile, they'd make the Facebook mobile app -- used by half a billion people a day! -- not be slow and crashy.

If Facebook cannot even get their mobile software to be fast and crash-free, how can they expect to pull off a project with the complexity of a phone?

Look how much Google struggles to make Android even one-tenth as delightful as an iPhone to use. (The verdict in 2012: still failing, and can't even get most people to upgrade from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich!)

I'd say there's a much better chance that Amazon improves the quality of the Kindle Fire screen and shrinks it down to phone size.

Let me be blunter.

Facebook, you're a utility. If you start building hardware, you will lose a lot of time and money. Priority #1 should be to make your slow, crashy apps work well on iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Mobile.

Releasing Facebook Camera -- a lesser app in every way to Instagram -- is not a good indication that you actually know what you're doing.

3.75 years later you were right about Facebook and Amazon, nice job!

Thanks, I get it right from time to time! :)

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