Blackberry, iOS, Android…Facebook? Rumors hit the web recently claiming that Facebook is planning on releasing their own mobile devices with a Facebook operating system. This news comes from a report by the New York Times who quoted anonymous sources from Facebook who have direct knowledge of the plan. One of the employees explained to the Times that, “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.”
This is not the first time that these rumors have surfaced. In 2010 it was reported that Facebook was building software for a mobile device while partnering with a third party vendor to create the appropriate hardware. While still just rumors so far there is some compelling evidence that Facebook is ready to move forward with the project. They have allegedly hired a handful of former Apple engineers who worked on the iPhone. The Times also spoke with one iPhone engineer who claimed to have met with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who was full of questions about the inner workings of smartphones.
When reached for comment Facebook was not surprisingly closed lip about the news. Facebook is no stranger to the mobile market with apps on all of the major mobile operating systems and may feel like they are becoming more of a product than an innovator. Some people are already speculating that this move comes as Facebook feels more pressure to perform now that they are a public company. Others believe that Zuckerberg wants to continue to keep Facebook at the cutting edge of technology and communication.
Facebook is known as one of the most powerful and popular social networks ever invented, but what may escape people is Facebook’s influence on business. From advertising to fan pages Facebook has created a powerful advertising tool for companies that range from sole proprietors to large enterprises. Not only has Facebook proven itself as a profitable business but they have proven to be a great tool for marketing, research, and even profits for other businesses.
With this in mind it makes you wonder what a Facebook smartphone could bring to businesses. There is a war brewing between Apple and Blackberry when it comes to mobile enterprise apps and it would be interesting to see what effect if any a Facebook phone would have on the battle. With Facebook’s ties in the business community it would be shocking if they did not offer enterprise apps to some extent whether it is their main focus or not.
It would be counterproductive to speculate too much on a phone and operating system that are only rumored up to this point. If the rumors turn out to be true it is possible that Blackberry and Apple will face some stiff competition in mobile enterprise. Facebook certainly has the money to back them in a venture like this and the connections to build a solid product. While it remains to be seen if this is just a rumor or Facebook trying to keep a new development under wraps it would be interesting to see if a Facebook operating system would become a major competitor to the top three operating systems or struggle to get off the ground like the Windows venture.