Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Mum on Own Phone Plans, Facebook Aims to Make Mobile Web App-Friendly

Facebook initially thought if it offered to send mobile developers lots of traffic, they would bring their apps to the mobile Web.

It turns out, it was more complicated. Even with Facebook, mobile developers still need a consistent Web platform, as well as a simple means to get paid.

And, since that is a problem Facebook can’t solve alone, the company is asking for help. At Mobile World Congress on Monday, the social networking giant announced plans for separate coalitions aimed at unifying mobile Web standards and enabling simpler carrier billing for Web apps.

“Our interests are really aligned with a lot of our partners,” CTO Bret Taylor said in an interview.

What Taylor wouldn’t talk about were the company’s plans to build its own phone, an effort code-named Buffy that was the subject of a series of articles last year.

Mobile is critically important for Facebook, as it is a growing source of the company’s traffic, but not yet a major source of revenue.

As for what Facebook hopes to be in mobile, Taylor said he would be happy if the company were seen as a major place to discover mobile apps.

“If we can accomplish that, Facebook is really the mobile company we want it to be,” he said.

It’s unclear, though, whether that would be enough to allow the company to replicate the huge financial success it has had on the desktop.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik