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Facebook could buy Nokia to build 'FacePhone,' expert says

Matt Hamblen | May 30, 2012
While a potential Facebook smartphone was ridiculed by analysts, one Paris-based marketing expert predicted a "FacePhone" will happen in 18 months, and the social networking giant will buy Nokia for $10 billion to make it happen.

Reports also surfaced that Facebook could buy Norwegian browser maker Opera Software. Last week, Facebook launched Camera, a mobile photo app, as part of a pending deal to buy photo-sharing app maker Instagram for $1 billion.

Google last week wrapped up a $12.5 billion deal to buy Motorola Mobility, giving the search engine giant a hardware manufacturing capability for its Android mobile operating system.

Facebook's interest in building a smartphone would allow Facebook to apply pressure on the rest of the market, including Google, Amsellem said.

But Amsellem's view is in the minority, with four analysts on Tuesday dismissing the Facephone idea. Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, said Facebook would be starting off well behind Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in building a smartphone, noting that the latter two basically failed.

"Facebook appears to be trying to emulate Google much like Google tried to emulate Apple," Enderle said. "A copy of a copy likely won't end up well, given how powerful both of the primary iOS and Android platforms are."

Enderle added: "We have a young company, Facebook, flush with cash, led by a young, inexperienced CEO, who treats this cash as if it were something he won in a game show. So I expect this to end badly."

Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, added that the smartphone market is already "hugely crowded." A Facebook phone would offer little that's new to phone users or to mobile operators interested in finding new ways to raise data usage revenues. "Is anybody really turned on by having a Facebook phone?" he asked.

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, added that instead of creating a smartphone, Facebook executives need to "get themselves ready to compete with Amazon, Apple, Google and others as an ecosystem before they start making phones ... It would be best to continue on with partnerships and being device agnostic"



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