Did Facebook just win the mobile war?

Did Facebook just win the mobile war?

Summary: Facebook Home co-opted Android, took over messaging, and gives you reason to keep staring at your phone's screen.


Who would you think would win the mobile space for the next there years? Apple, Google, Microsoft? Each company's mobile platform is meant to be the tool for collecting users' data and habits and feed the numerous services the companies are building.

It's funny that Facebook waltzed up last week, announced Facebook Home, and have primed themselves to be the leader of the mobile space (most eyeballs for the longest time). When the first Facebook phone rumors came out a couple years ago, no one thought they could be a serious player. Everyone assumed that if Facebook built a phone it wouldn't be any good because it's far from their core competency, and their initial foray with the HTC Status seemed dead on arrival.

With Facebook Home, they have essentially co-opted Google's Android platform by building a launcher (a wrapper) on top of Android that controls all the user interactions. Why waste time building a mobile operating system when you can just skin Android?

Why do I think that Facebook has "won" the mobile space? Because of everything it already knows about you and your friends. Add in all the data a phone provides and between Facebook, its apps ecosystem, and its ad partners, they will be able to serve up content (ads) at the right place and right time to you.

Here's just a few things that make it powerful:

  • Everything they will get from you using Facebook Search on your device
  • Every SMS and message is going through Facebook. Maybe they can sense when you're fighting with your spouse… perfect time to inject some florist ads into the cover feed
  • Facebook already knows who I'm connected to via their site. Now they'll know how many times I call, text, or otherwise interact with that person (and also with people who aren't on Facebook)
  • Similarly they'll know who I’m talking to for the first time, who I talk to most often, and etc.
  • Know which businesses' pages I've "Liked" and when I'm near one of the physical shops
  • As they make it easier to utilize Facebook events for your main calendar/appointment book, that unlocks even more data for them to utilize

With the phone's cover page being an ever-changing newsfeed of your friends' activities; it's a great hook to draw you in, let you easily interact, and ultimately serve you up ads. I recall Windows Phone 7 talking about how it was putting people first, and it did a great job of it, but Facebook has taken it to the next level.

Do you think Facebook has pulled off a coup?

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Apple, Google, Social Enterprise


Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft. In 2009, he had lived his "dream" of middle-management long enough and opened a Japanese restaurant called Standing Sushi Bar. Trading in stock grants and software licenses for raw fish and cash, he enjoys mixing his passion for technology into the daily hustle of small business.

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  • No!

    It is a junk app and home is likely to be no better.
  • Might be a fad

    This wrapper may be a hit with a fair percentage of younger people but, overall, I think Facebook fatigue is setting in with a lot of folks. It seems that highly connected people (not a compliment) think it's a big deal. For the rest of us who enjoy all forms of social contact; where the internet type of contact is just one of many ways to communicate, and not the most important one at that, this is just another nuisance fad.

    Of course I'm an old techie (65) so what do I know :)
    • 65 years and a techie!!!

      :o U R like a dinosaur in this human world!!! :o :o
  • Lets see the uptake over the next 3 months

    Then we will be better able to access the situation. I do think however that Facebook Home will be the starting point to a new level of interaction with phones and the software on them. At this stage Android is the only operating system that offers this high level of customization, and therefore I think the real winner will be Android.
  • 2 Issues with it

    I think it is too invasive. I don't want facebook monitoring who I text. Second is that I hate ads being served up and I think people will tire of this as well.
  • facebook is dead

    I stopped using Facebook 3 years ago and this is yet another invasion of my privacy. Why would any consumer willingly give all their data about themselves to companies that will then market and sell that data.

    More and more people are bored with Facebook. It's filled with (ironically) people that don't really have friends that stalk people they want to be friends with. I certainly don't miss it.

    Regarding their skin, it's a risk as at any time Google can change the API and terms to use Android OS. This is something I see happening soon with Samsung getting more powerful and now Amazon and Facebook forking and altering the OS.
  • If you need a facebook app.... its worse... you need a life.

    facebook.... home of the nothing to do's with nothing to say.
    Reality Bites
  • And people wonder why my life is "compartmentalized"!

    Of all my so-called "friends" on Facebook, only three are people whom I've not met in real life. Generally, I would rather stick to emails.

    I don't need "app" that gives all my information away, I need an "app" that recognises grocery barcodes and alerts to products that I want Black-listed, i.e., anti-advertising.