Will Apple Buy Facebook?

Right now, Apple can purchase Facebook twice over and still have money in the bank.  But why would they do so?

Ping is a failure.  Apple doesn't have a social network.  Right now every startup has to come to market on the back of Facebook's social graph.  Instagram, Zynga, Buddy Media have all seen near billion dollar valuations simply by coupling to Facebook's social graph.

It is remarkable that many large brands no longer run marketing campaigns to drive traffic to their own websites.  Instead they drive them (lazily, if you ask me) to facebook.com/companyname and leverage the social tools (like, share, post, etc.) that exist there.  All this does is drive more traffic to Facebook which creates a virtuous circle – benefitting Mr. Zuckerberg.

Apple gets this (so does Google, btw).  It is the same way the iPod begat iTunes which made the iPhone and iPad the dominate players in their market.  It is about critical mass – getting people to spend more time, money, and effort in your own walled garden than anywhere else. Will Apple make iTV (or Apple Television) a social experience – sharing with others what you are watching, on what device, and what people think, chatting live together – if so, they will need a (BIG) social network.

Today's launch of Airtime.com is just another example of a well-funded company without even a website – all the heavy lifting is done at facebook.  And Apple, uncharacteristically, is left out of the equation. How long until Apple marketing fixes that omission?

8 thoughts on “Will Apple Buy Facebook?”

  1. Apple will NEVER buy Facebook. For one thing, how does Facebook increase Apple’s profits? It doesn’t. It will be a money loser for Apple. Does Facebook increase Apple’s intellectual property portfolio? It doesn’t.
    Further, Facebook only offers eyeballs of millions of people who happen to not want to buy anything advertised on Facebook. Apple wants consumers who will spend handsomely on its products. Facebook offers cheapskates. This doesn’t mesh with Apple.
    Realize that Apple doesn’t want to be a content creator. Apple doesn’t want to manufacture its hardware. Apple knows that if someone can do it better, might as well let that someone do it for Apple.

  2. Good points James.  I agree it seems unlikely, but I wanted to address your objections.  Facebook may be unprofitable, but it is a great place for people who love book, music, movies and television to share what they read, listen to and watch in full frontal view of their friends.  Today's consumer buys what other people buy and what others recommend ("Like" in Facebook parlance) So Apple can accelerate growth of these businesses (highly profitable for Apple) simply by bolting on a social graph – and there is none bigger than Facebook.  

  3. Buy it from whom? Isn’t Facebook a public company now? Not that the stockholders would’t be anxious to to dump what they have, but the time to buy it from Zuck and his investors is long gone. Also as James Katt said why would they? However, if Apple bought then I am sure they could clean it up, it is a train wreck of hidden buttons, scattered settings, not enough viewing options and generally poorly designed.
    Now I agree with Steve in that Facebook does have its uses. I have an account and am active, though I do practice safe Facebooking.

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  5. It all really depends on Apple’s long-term objectives as an organization. Getting social doesn’t seem to be in the cards considering that there’s already a loyal community of followers around the Apple brand.

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