Will Facebook Challenge Android to Become the Next Big Platform?
The war of ecosystems has just started, players such as Apple, Google, Microsoft are fighting battles to maximize their presence in mind, eye-balls, touch, voice and gestures of the growing wave of connected consumers.
In this ongoing war, I highlighted in my earlier post how all these players are positioned to drive tribes of connected consumers. The scenario is robust considering the current landscape and players. However, the “dark horse” of this race is still to play its part and its hight time it decides to compete head-on with the current ecosystem leaders. The “dark horse” is Facebook.
Each ecosystem encompasses of a “platform” at the center encompassing bouquet of applications, services spanning across multiple devices and screens flocked by users. For example : iOS, Android, Windows Phone are platforms with thousands of applications and services such as iMessage, Facetime, iCloud on iOS or Gmail, Google+, Google Maps on Android across phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc.
Facebook is one of the biggest and fast growing platform and the biggest advantage is that it is social-centric. I expect Facebook to become the next Android or iOS or Windows Phone with presence and control across multiple screens.
Does Facebook have potential? Let’s do some fact-checking:
- Facebook had 845 million active users at the end of 2011. That is humongous !!
- Facebook had 432 million active mobile Facebook users at the end of 2011. Pretty impressive
- Facebook had 58 million users log in exclusively on a tablet or mobile phone at the end of 2011
- Facebook App Economy created 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion dollars to the U.S. economy, UMD Study
- Facebook recently snapped up 750 Patents from IBM to strengthen its position in this technology world
- Facebook at its IPO launch in Feb 2012, had a valuation estimated at $100 billion, more than double Google Inc.’s valuation when the search-engine operator went public in 2004
- Facebook platform incorporates an unique concept of “Social Design” leveraging core elements as “Identity”, “Conversation and “Community” portraying a very high engagement potential between users with the apps/products/services built around Facebook platform
- Building Apps and Services by putting social experience at the core for this huge growing Facebook user community, will be every marketer in this world would vouch for.
- The number of apps on Facebook have been on the rise encompassing across different categories. Top developers and partners being Zynga, Spotify, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, etc.
- Top Apps on Facebook platform can be found here:
- Facebook already has following killer apps/capabilities/services:
- Social Network
- Video Chat
- Virtual Currency
- Facebook needs to acquire/build/partner some of the capabilities to become a complete “devices ready” independent platform:
- Music (e.g: Streaming Music, Music Store)
- Movie/Video (e.g. Netflix, hul, YouTube. etc.)
- Devices API (Access different sensors on devices such as GPS, Camera, Accelerometer, etc.)
- Content Creation Apps (e.g.: Wordpress, Microsoft Office, etc.)
- Facebook thus has a serious potential to become one of the biggest platform with presence across multiple screens and knitting the apps, products, services, websites connected to this platform with people’s social profile. Level of Social Engagement is the key differentiation here for Facebook.
I envision Facebook to leverage technologies such as Cloud, HTML5 to build its own independent platform which could be scaled across multiple devices partnering with OEMs, content providers and operators to create the next “Facebook Phone“, “Facebook Tablet” or “Facebook TV“. I put my money on Facebook as the next big platform in this fast-growing connected landscape. However, it will be up to the vision and strategy of Facebook executives whether they intent Facebook to become an independent platform such as Android or just remain being “an app or a social plugin” on other platforms or devices.
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