Facebook's mobile desperation will threaten your privacy

Facebook's only way to grow is via mobile -- and once the crazy schemes fail, Facebook will resort to its old tricks

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Building an open platform would be smart
Though Opera Mini is an excellent mobile browser, it has little market share, like the desktop version. Instead of wasting $1 billion or more on Opera and using it as the foundation of a closed platform, Facebook could spend the same money and build an open platform.

"In the world, where HTML5 will dominate, Facebook needs to invent an application publishing platform, which sits in between the developer and the browser. This platform should allow developers to create an application in any of their favorite tools, which could be from Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Adobe Systems, or any other open source tool and then transparently publish it to any application Web store," Chowdry wrote in a note to clients. Building a closed platform would do the opposite, narrowing Facebook's ecosystem at a time when the company desperately needs to broaden it.

Building a Facebook phone would be dumb
In reporting the rumor that Facebook may build its own phone, Nick Bilton of the New York Times asked, "Can a software company build its own smartphone? We may find out soon." Actually, the question has been asked and answered. Remember Google's Nexus One debacle?

Google's failure wasn't just an engineering screw-up. It simply had no idea how to deal with customer service issues or how to play with the heavyweights of the carrier world. Now that Google is doing everything it can to make Android a success and not messing with stuff it knows nothing about, Google's mobile strategy (not counting tablets) is in good shape.

Despite that example, it appears that Facebook has been running around poaching Apple employees to create something called "Buffy," a phone that would make it less odious to run Facebook apps on the go. As Steve Cheney put it at BusinessInsider: "Are people really serious in thinking that Facebook hiring a few Apple engineers is going to enable the company to build its own smartphone? This theory is an absolute joke. Competing in what has become the world's most competitive consumer market (mobile) would require a massive team of brilliant visionaries and hundreds of experienced systems engineers -- operating as a cohesive unit."

What's more, building its own smartphone puts it in head-to-head competition with Apple. What would that do to efforts to integrate Facebook with iOS? Wreck them, of course.

There's going to be lots of speculation about what Facebook will do next. If you want the real scoop, dial in to the July earnings call that Facebook will hold with analysts (it's open to all) to discuss its first earnings report as a public company. Wall Street is feeling burned by the wobbly debut of Facebook's stock, so the call is likely to be harsh -- and very entertaining.

I welcome your comments, tips, and suggestions. Post them here (Add a comment) so that all our readers can share them, or reach me at bill@billsnyder.biz. Follow me on Twitter at BSnyderSF.

This article, "Facebook's mobile desperation will threaten your privacy," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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