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Why does Facebook want to build a phone?

Recently, CNET reported that Facebook might be working on a phone of its own. All the cool kids are doing it. Apple was the first, and is the coolest kid on the block, but Google‘s Android phone has a higher market share. Google is sticking with attempts at hardware, the latest with the well-received Pixel. Microsoft is still trying to move the needle on its Windows phone. Amazon’s Fire Phone flamed out, but Amazon has had some success with its Fire tablet, as has Microsoft with its Surface. Facebook is the only one of the big players that doesn’t have a phone or a tablet—Apple and Google obviously have both.

What would be in a Facebook phone? There are some indications that it might take over the modular idea that Google abandoned when it cancelled the Ara project. Perhaps it will go toward Virtual Reality, using Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift.

But beyond features, why does Facebook want a phone? Facebook might already be the top-used app on every kind of phone. Does Facebook believe it needs hardware to jump-start Facebook payments? Some believe that Google’s motivation to go into phone hardware is around making payments ubiquitous.

It might be none of these things. There might be no grand plan. What seems to be happening more and more is that each one of these companies rake in so much cash that they just can’t help themselves from getting into everyone else’s business. As time goes on, each of these companies looks around for anything the others are doing and needs to have its own. I don’t know if that really makes sense as a strategy, but as a digital marketer, you need to be prepared to see even more platforms, and be prepared to choose between them.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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