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

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This is on top of dropping a cool $1 billion to acquire Instagram, which lets you take 21st-century digital photos and make them look like you shot them with your father's Polaroid camera using film that has been in a drawer for six years. That's clearly vital to Facebook's continued success.

Oh yeah: Rumors also have it that Facebook is building its own phone. No, not that phone. Nope, not that one either. An entirely new phone, or at least, an entirely new rumor of a Facebook phone, first reported last year by AllThingsD and nicknamed "Buffy." I am not making that last bit up.

Of course, if Facebook were building its own phone, it might well need its own browser, facial recognition software, and a stupid photo editing app. And with mobile access accounting for half the time people spend on Facebook, it makes sense Facebook might need its own phones so that it could deliver ads and generate the revenue it so far has lacked on the mobile side -- which those bankers probably know better than anyone and possibly the biggest reason why the stock has been circling the drain.

Still, you get the feeling with Facebook like the adults have moved out and left the house and car keys with the kids. Like suddenly Zucky has access to Dad's Amex card and he's going to make the most of it before he gets grounded. It doesn't look like an organized strategy, and it doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon.

If you're a Facebook fan, this is not pretty. But it's sure entertaining for the rest of us.

Is Facebook headed for a faceplant? Share your thoughts below or email me:

This article, "After the IPO: Facebook shops while stock drops," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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