The Facebook phone

I don’t get it.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Facebook had poached software and hardware engineers from Apple to work on a Facebook phone.

First of all, is that legal to simply poach them? And how big a pan do you need? How many minutes does it take to poach an engineer just right? I hate it when they come out all runny.

Usually, I would assume that the reason I don’t “get” why Facebook thinks it needs to make a phone is because I’m an idiot. But fortunately while I may still be an idiot, I’m not alone.

Yes, it turns out that “experts” also question the need for a Facebook phone. Although, I have to say that I think “Geoff Blaber” and “Francisco Jeronimo” might be made-up names.

I am reasonably sure, however, that Brent Simmons is a real person since I’ve met him a number of times.

I don’t think a Facebook phone is any kind of answer. It will have to be super-cheap to compete. After all, why buy a cow (a Facebook phone) when you can get milk (a Facebook app) for free? A Facebook phone looks like an expensive distraction, a war of choice.

I wonder the same thing about Android. On the books, it doesn’t seem like Android’s panned out for Google. They make most of their mobile search money from iOS and now have the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola to amortize. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply focus on making the best search engine and other services, thereby making yourself a must-have on all mobile devices? Or is that just too hard?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes thinks the Facebook phone is in response to Apple baking Twitter into iOS, which may be true, but they probably also figure they can’t keep buying up Instagrams at a billion dollars a pop, particularly with ad revenues being what they are.

Despite continued rumors about it, Apple didn’t build itself a carrier infrastructure to make sure the iPhone would be available to everyone. They just built the best damn phone there is and woe betide the carrier now that doesn’t have it. Deciding that you have to build a phone seems like what an entrenched company that feels it can no longer innovate does in order to protect its position as platforms shift.