After the IPO: Facebook shops while stock drops

How do you follow up a dismal IPO? In Facebook's case, you buy companies left and right with a vague plan tying them together

I think we can safely say the Facebook IPO didn't exactly go as Mark Zuckerberg might have hoped. First there was that major screwup by Nasdaq when its computers melted down under the weight of heavy trading, delaying the sale of Facebook stock. Then came news that Facebook may have shared information with its underwriters that it didn't bother to tell the rest of the world, causing them to short the stock ahead of trading. Now Facebook is being sued by investors who missed those status updates.

I guess sharing really isn't the "new social norm" after all.

[ Cringely has said it all along: The world's hottest social network isn't Facebook. Find out who's leading the pack. | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ]

After opening at $38 and rising roughly 10 percent in early trading, Facebook's share price started to drop faster than a Kardashian's underpants. Now it's trading at less than $30, or roughly the cost of two shares of Yahoo and a can of YooHoo.

Facebook's share price is not being helped much by rumors that the social network may be trying to acquire Opera, the Norwegian software company that controls as much as 0.0000002 percent of the Web browser market. Why? Because Opera has a mobile browser that Facebook apparently covets.

Having used Facebook apps on a variety of mobile devices, I can easily say the company could sure use the help. Really, a room full of JavaScript-slinging monkeys could do a better job building mobile apps than Facebook has. Whether buying Opera will solve that problem, though, is anybody's guess.

Rumors are also flying that Facebook will acquire Face.com, an Israeli company that makes facial recognition software, for as much as $100 million. (Hint to Face.com owner/CEO Gil Hirsch: Better ask for that in cash and not stock, just to be safe.) Face.com makes apps that would allow Facebook users to automatically identify and tag friends in pictures. Why is that worth $100 million? Because most of us have no clue who most of those people who friended us on Facebook really are, and we could sure use the help.

There's no word yet whether the company will also attempt to purchase Barnes & Noble's Book.com, just to complete the set.

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