So, in a recent conference call, Steve Jobs bragged about the 50+ billion dollars Apple has stashed away to use for purchases. However, no real word was made in regards to Facebook itself. Speculation has been brewing that Apple is courting Facebook, and the announcement of 51 billion or so dollars is indication of Steve Jobs’ interest in the Social Networking site. Apple needs a strong social networking presence to compete with Facebook, and with Google and its proposed social networking goals. Apple is faced with one of two options, and ignoring social networking is NOT one of them. First, it must either create a brand new, fresh experience on its own. Second, it should buy Facebook, or at least some other major Social Networking platform.
So, where is all of this hoopla about Apple going to buy Facebook? It is all just speculation for the most part. It all started thanks to reports of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs were seen having coffee together talking about something. This doesn’t sound like it was a “one time only” ordeal as they have had a handful of meetings here and there to discuss “things”. What are these “things” being discussed, however? Some rumors are that these talks are nothing more than deeper iPhone/Facebook integration bringing Facetalk to Facebook chat. Maybe it is just to convince Zuckerberg his Android phone isn’t as awesome as the iPhone 4 and is trying to persuade him to come back to the dark side of the force?
Why does Apple find it so important to be a part of a social networking experience? That is where everyone is at right now. That is how the mobile world is proceeding. Every phone, website, blog, etc. is tied into a social network. We have Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, TwitPic, Picasa, and mobile emails from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and more. Steve Jobs has a popular handset that millions of people are using. The iPhone, and other smartphones, are our means to connecting to the world, and staying connected to people. Social Networks bring those contacts, places, events, and dates closer to us than ever before. Not having that on the iPhone will indefinitely hurt Apple. Speculation, perhaps on my part, is that the new Google Me experience will be tightly woven into the Android experience down the road. This would put Google way out ahead of Facebook, Apple, and any other competitor.
Why doesn’t Apple just do like Google and build its own social network? Buying one is cheaper, and easier. To consider the man hours, advertising and work force that would be needed to produce, and release a brand new social network would not be cost effective for Apple right now. Besides, take a look at Google’s Orkut, it flopped. Granted, Google bought it as well, but it has been actively building on it, and use it as a bed for OpenSocial. Neither have taken off as they hoped. Apple doesn’t want that to happen to them. They want something successful right out of the box. They want something that is either readily adoptable, or already in use.
So, what if Apple can’t buy Facebook? What other options do they have? Well, again, they could try and build their own network, and have it designed with the iOS platform in mind. Alternatively, there are numerous other social networks out there that are prime for purchase. Sure, these other networks may not have the user base or the popularity of Facebook, but they could be quickly and easily molded to fit the iPhone and iPad. With millions of users on both platforms, getting them to use it would be like getting a dog to chew on a bone.
All in all, I don’t see Facebook being bought out by Apple. At least not in the near future, or from a friendly purchase. Facebook is entirely to profitable to the individuals and stock holders as it is. To be bought by Apple could damage Facebook’s profitability. Especially if Steve Jobs wants Facebook solely as a thorn to Google.