This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Any Facebook Phone Would Be Zuckerberg's Dumbest Idea Ever

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This week all signs point to Facebook (FB - Get Report) doing something with a smartphone. On Thursday, we'll find out if the popular rumors come true -- a tweaked-out version of Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android mobile operating system running on an HTC device.

As I wrote in early January prior to Facebook's last big announcement:
Zuckerberg already shot down the smartphone plans. For all intents and purposes, he called it a stupid move because that's exactly what it is . . .
Nobody will buy a Facebook phone because a bunch of really good ones already exist, particularly Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone. Th(e) Facebook app probably owns first-page space on every smartphone in America . . . Zuckerberg operates a very different ecosystem than the one [Jeff] Bezos runs at (AMZN - Get Report). Hardware should never -- under any circumstance I can think of -- enter the social equation.
Let other companies take on that burden at no cost to Facebook.

That's exactly what Facebook might be doing. Zuckerberg said his company would not make a phone. HTC builds the phone, Facebook powers the Facebook-centric platform.

Still a bad idea. Or at least a needless one.

No matter who actually produces the phone, I don't see the benefit of Facebook making itself the focus on a smartphone nobody, relatively speaking, will buy, especially when the social network tends to dominate space on the smartphones that actually get sold. It's not like you can't, with the push of a button or three, completely integrate Facebook into your present device. Millions of people do 24/7, 365.

Eavesdrop on the next 10 people you see scrolling through something on their phone. I run this experiment all the time. Almost invariably, more than half of the unknowing subjects happen to be running Facebook. Quite a few have Instagram, which I assume would be co-featured on a Facebook-centric phone, open, keeping it in the FB family.

All of this talk about Facebook needing to position itself as the main app on a platform -- it just sounds like one big distraction. Facebook's sole focus should be providing the best user experience it can via its present, always-evolving platform.

If it holds its place as the go-to social network, everything else takes care of itself. Its icon will live on the first screen of iPhones and other smartphones, snuffing out the competition.

Focus. Don't lose it. This is an instance where Sheryl Sandberg needs to reel Zuckerberg in. The smartphone idea, in and of itself, will not hurt Facebook; however an unintended consequence could be a loss of focus. That's the worrisome part.

Focus. It's the reason why I stay, by and large, confident about Pandora's (P - Get Report) long-term prospects despite all the noise. I'm fairly certain that a focused management team has the reigns. It doesn't need a Pandora-centric consumer device to maintain its massive Internet radio lead and continued disruption of terrestrial radio. It just needs to keep providing the best radio experience available.

That's how Zuck should direct 100% of Facebook's tangible and intangible resources -- hyper-focused on providing the best social experience there is.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.23 -1.00%
AMZN $668.93 -0.36%
FB $117.95 0.44%
GOOG $697.59 0.76%
P $9.19 5.90%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,651.16 -99.75 -0.56%
S&P 500 2,050.19 -13.18 -0.64%
NASDAQ 4,727.0170 -36.2070 -0.76%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs