Facebook’s decision to create a software branding and messaging skin leveraging the open Android system and OPH (other people’s hardware) has a lot to teach the high-tech community.
The development of Facebook Home gives Zuckerberg and company a much-needed leg up in the mobile space and relieves them of the cost and burden of conjuring up another operating system, the expense of hardware development or the lengthy process of building sales channels and marketing.
Facebook Home is something of a lunar opposite of the Apple we’ll-build-and-control-the-entire-stack mentality. But the Facebook strategy is much more in line with where tech is headed. Consider the following IT infrastructure developments:
Netflix is using Amazon Web Services to underpin its technology platform.
Internet service providers are being (grumpily) forced to adhere to net-neutrality requirements that allow video streaming services to swamp their networks without getting paid more.
OpenStack and the host of new open IT infrastructure build-it yourself options that are upending the traditional proprietary lock-ins of the major technology vendors.
We are in an era of technology jujitsu where smart technology vendors and executives are able to use their opponents’ strengths to their advantage.
Look, Facebook and Google are competing for online ad dollars, and with the rise of the smartphone as the platform of choice, those dollars are quickly going mobile. Facebook can leverage Google’s Android operating system, but Google can’t leverage Facebook’s closed social network.
Apple’s strength is also its weakness in an era where social interaction and cloud computing are the new cool tools where Apple stands aloof. The cost to Facebook to create the Home is minimal, and the upside is the mobile ad business. I’d say Facebook won this round.
Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor in chief at eWEEK (previously PC Week) from 1996-2008, authors this blog for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.