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As Facebook Inc. begins life as a public company, it is confronting heightened concern about its business.
One of the biggest question marks is its mobile strategy.
Facebook is playing catch-up after ignoring its app and mobile strategy. Spencer Ante reports on digits.
Facebook's recent experience
with app developer CrowdStar Inc. shows just how deep its mobile problems are rooted. CrowdStar was an active developer of
social games on Facebook in 2010, with 50 million daily active users playing its games like "Happy Aquarium" and
"Happy Pets," said CrowdStar Chief Executive Peter Relan.
But last month, CrowdStar stopped making new games for Facebook.
Instead, the Burlingame, Calif., company plans to focus on creating games for mobile devices like Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android-based
reason: While the number of people
accessing Facebook with their smartphone and tablets is exploding, apps such as games can't be accessed on the social
network's mobile site.
"We don't see Facebook…as attractive a platform as we see the mobile platform, so we believe all our
efforts in the future will be focused on the growth available in mobile," Mr. Relan said.
a 30% cut of games sales through its payments system when game players buy virtual goods on the site. So games developers
are paying a hefty tax to use Facebook, yet their apps don't work in the place where Facebook's growth is surging. More than half of Facebook's 900 million
users access the site using smartphones and tablets, but they see a limited version of the social network that includes main
features like the News Feed and friends' profiles. App makers don't have a presence on the mobile site, and Facebook only
began experimenting with how mobile ads might work. There are a large number of developers building apps for mobile, and Facebook is a key driver of growth for many
of these developers," said a Facebook spokesman.
Now Facebook is forced to play catch-up after earlier deciding not to create a sophisticated
mobile app for the site. Rather, executives wanted people to access the site using their mobile device's Web browser, said
a person familiar with the matter.
This person said the reason for that thinking was twofold: Facebook didn't want to be beholden to other platforms
like Apple's iOS or Google's Android. The company also wanted to create one version of the site for all mobile technologies,
rather than different versions for Apple iPhones or Android devices. The problem is that the technology called HTML5 that
would support sophisticated games and apps won't be ready for another two or three years.
The company has taken certain steps in recent
months to beef up its mobile team, acquiring photo-sharing app Instagram and social discovery app Glancee. In both cases,
Facebook acquired not only talent but the technology from both products.
Facebook has yet to forge relationships with handset makers or
carriers to push out phones that can compete, even as Apple churns out iPhones and Google closes its acquisition of Motorola
Mobility Holdings Inc.
Facebook's mobile miscalculation is underscored by how quickly people are adopting iPhones and Android phones, and
using the apps through them. According to Gartner, iPhone sales are projected to hit 139 million this year, up from 25 million
in 2009, while Android smartphones are expected to reach 364 million this year, up from around 7 million in 2009.
As more people gravitate
to smartphones and tablets, they're increasingly forgoing the desktop to the access the Web. Between 2008 and 2011, the percentage
of U.S. adults who accessed the Internet from PCs daily grew to 62% from 54%. In the same period, the percentage of daily
mobile Internet users rocketed to 26% from 4%, according to Forrester Research.
this modality of consumption shifting from the PC to mobile," said Matt Murphy, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins
Caufield & Byers. "On top of that, mobile feels like it's much more the kind of wide open that anybody can win kind
On Monday, some of these issues appeared to rise to the fore as Facebook's stock fell 11% to $34.03 in its second
day of trading.
In a research note before Facebook's IPO last week, Morningstar analyst Rick Summer listed the company's potential
failure to monetize its mobile usage as a risk factor and suggested that $32 a share was a "fair value estimate"
for the company.
"The enthusiasm for Facebook is not misplaced," Mr. Summer concluded, adding that he was optimistic about
the company's growth opportunity with mobile, "but the market may be underestimating several near-term challenges for
Over the course of Facebook's roadshow with investors earlier this month, the company's executives were repeatedly
asked about their mobile strategy. Facebook warned in its IPO prospectus that a lack of mobile advertising was a risk factor.
Now Facebook needs to
convince app developers like CrowdStar and others to stick with it and not abandon its platform because it lacks a strong
mobile ecosystem. Facebook is still heavily dependent on one games maker, Zynga Inc. About 15% of its revenue comes from payments
on the site, with most of that derived from games made by Zynga.
Another Facebook games maker, Funzio Inc., which was bought by
Japanese mobile game company Gree Inc. this month, said it is focusing on
mobile apps, rather than Facebook's website.
Anil Dharni, Funzio's chief operating officer, said when the company was founded in 2009,
it had high hopes for Facebook's platform and early success with its "Crime City" game, which had 1.3 million monthly
average users in May on the Facebook site and on its iPhone and Android apps, according to AppData.
But over time, the cost of acquiring new
users shot up on Facebook, and the social network also began requiring game developers to pay 30% of their revenue to the
So Funzio "evaluated the mobile space and we knew we were ready to do mobile," said Mr. Dharni.
Still, he said he hasn't
written Facebook off completely. "Whenever they [Facebook] bring the power of distribution to mobile, we think that's
something we need to adopt," he said.
Facebook's mobile problem doesn't only affect developers. Brands also build apps for the
site that can't be used on smartphones or tablets, said Justin Kirstner, director of social products at analytics firm Webtrends.
"The key thing
that most often comes up around mobile is, if you click on links that go to applications in Facebook, in mobile that breaks,"
he said. "That's a big problem because of the amount of mobile usage."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ India is Comin' On Fast - to the
Cloud and Cloud Adoption......And Facebook Mobile Usage
Cloud computing refers to a pay-per-use
model of computing where applications and software are accessed over the Internet and not owned by users. It helps IT companies
to save huge costs as they do not have to invest heavily in IT infrastructure.
According to Zinnov Management Consulting, India's cloud computing market is expected to reach USD 4.5
billion by 2015.
The BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard
benchmarked cloud readiness of 24 countries that together account for 80 per cent of the global ICT market.
And, the number of Indian Facebook Mobile Platform users will grow over 289% over next 12 months.....
It examined laws and regulations in areas such as data privacy, cyber security, cyber crime, IP protection, free
trade and IT infrastructure, among others.
"While India has
done well in parameters like harmonisation to international laws and data security, work needs to be done on data protection
and broadband infrastructure," BSA Technology Policy Counsel Chris Hopfensperger told reporters here.
The lack of effective regulations has been the biggest obstacle in allowing developed countries like
India and China to draw the full benefits of global cloud computing environment, he said.
"Businesses can grow and scale-up using software as a productivity tool through the full power of cloud at their
fingertips. This will require a stronger infrastructure to support cloud utilisation, effective legislation on data privacy
and intellectual property protection," BSA Director India Lizum Mishra said. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Marketers can now buy
Facebook Sponsored Stories for
the News Feed specifically for
Facebook’s first separate mobile ad unit is a telling move for the company. Since filing for an initial public offering in February, both investors and Facebook itself have cited mobile as an potential impediment to the company’s revenue prospects.
introduced its Sponsored Stories ad platform in January 2011. In December,
the company announced its plans to bring the units directly into the News Feed.
Marketers can now buy Sponsored Stories in the News Feed and specify
where they would like those advertisements to appear: the desktop, mobile or both. They can also combine those with placements
on the right-hand side (desktop only).
The five options, in full:
All placements. News Feed desktop, right-hand side
desktop, News Feed mobile.
All desktop placements. News Feed
desktop, right-hand side desktop.
News Feed desktop and mobile placements.
News Feed desktop and News Feed mobile.
News Feed mobile placements. News Feed mobile only.
A report that Facebook
was considering mobile integration with Sponsored Stories in the News Feed
published by the Financial Times in February. One source told the FT that Facebook planned to encourage advertisers
to link within Facebook, rather than directing users off-site.
The launch of mobile-only ads is a promising step for Facebook, but its
success will depend largely on whether it furnishes a better or worse conversion rate compared to the desktop.
Nearly half of Facebook’s
more than 900 million users access the site via a mobile device. The more time users spend accessing the social network through
its — until today, ad-free — mobile versions, the more ad revenue Facebook stands to lose.
Thus, it is critical that Facebook develop
mobile ad offerings that bring in as much revenue as its desktop ad products.
Facebook has launched a new feature for
mobile, Find Friends Nearby, which will help you find people in your vicinity.
This will come in handy
if you meet, for example, a John Smith and would like to add him on Facebook without being confused by the hundreds of other
Facebook users with that name.
In order to find a user through Find Friends Nearby, you and the person you’re looking for must both have the
feature turned on.
Does this new feature seem useful? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said his biggest challenge right now is
adapting his social network to the mobile world.
The chief executive of the Menlo Park, Calif., company discussed the matter at the Allen
& Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week. Zuckerberg said fitting the 900-million member social network
into mobile devices is the toughest part of his job because the mobile and desktop platforms are so different, according to
also talked about how Facebook works as a publicly held company, saying operations are essentially the same.
“Things are not
much different,” Zuckerberg said, according to Bloomberg.
“I’m focused on building product.”
Rather, Zuckerberg said the biggest change in his life has been elsewhere.
“The bigger change
was getting married,” he said.
But that's questionable.
Since the company went public in mid-May, Facebook has been having a tough time, and it still hasn't climbed back
to its $38 IPO price. Facebook's stock fell below $$26 at one point and since then it's generally stayed around the $30 mark.
The company's struggles
in the mobile realm have been well documented since Facebook filed documents with the SEC as it prepared to go public and
listed mobile as one of its obstacles.
After that time, though, the company has made efforts to improve in the area. Facebook has made purchasing mobile
ads easier, released a duo of apps this summer and purchased Instagram for $1 billion in April.
Meanwhile, Facebook rival Twitter said this week that it was actually making
more money from mobile on some days. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the Los Angeles Times that the company's advertising is
quickly improving and that it has a truckload of money in the bank.