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May 29, 2012

Is Facebook's Smartphone a Smart Move?

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

The company that has been met with criticism for being feckless in the mobile advertising market is now endeavoring on a project to create a smartphone. Sources have disclosed that the project is code named “Buffy” – yes, as in the vampire slayer.

A Facebook (News - Alert) employee revealed to the New York 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.” Before the New York Times leaked this report, Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) apparently went through great pains at keeping the project under wraps. However, many details surrounding Project Buffy are now public information, such as the fact that Zuckerberg discreetly selected a team of engineers who for the most part have an Apple (News - Alert) background.

For people who wondered about Facebook’s elusory motivation behind launching the Facebook Camera App last week - the technological twin of the $1 billion acquisition of Instagram last month – doesn’t this revelation put things in perspective?

But people following Facebook’s evolution note that Facebook has greater issues then just camera apps to deal with in creating a smartphone. Eric Zemen of Information Week predicts that Facebook will fail, as a matter-of-fact. “The market can't support another smartphone operating system,” he points out. Other companies that have tried to break into the mobile industry and have failed include Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) and Sony.

Unexpectedly, the New York Times lends Facebook a vote of confidence and reports, “Despite the difficulties, Facebook seems well positioned in certain ways to enter the smartphone market.” By “difficulties,” the report is referring to Facebook’s failure to develop in-house hardware, their “contentious relationship with Apple”, and previous attempts at creating a smartphone that never amounted to anything.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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