There's been plenty of speculation about what the social networker has up its sleeve. Facebook often saves its big announcements for the company's F8 developer conference, so this marks a departure from the company's usual strategy.
I suspect CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team, now that Facebook is public, are trying to one up the tech industry, which is perfectly normal. It happens all the time. Companies try to schedule events around Apple (AAPL) product launches to gain exposure. It works, but not to the degree many would like. Facebook is different because it's a product more than 1 billion people use, so there's going to be a considerable attention focused on this event.
On to the event itself. What will Facebook announce? Zuckerberg has already talked about building a social search engine. "Search is interesting," he said at a tech conference back in September. "We do on [the] order of a billion inquiries a day, and we're not trying." He went on to say that at some point Facebook would do something with search, but didn't get into specifics.I think a search engine is one of the more likely choices for a product announcement, as Facebook looks to take some market share away from search leader Google (GOOG). Topeka Capital Markets analyst Victor Anthony believes a search product could be exceedingly beneficial for shareholders. "We have also stated previously that we believe a social search engine would be worth $7-$8 per share to Facebook. At full ramp, we see Facebook generating close to $5 billion in annual revenues and $2.5 billion in EBITDA from a search engine," Anthony wrote in a recent research note. The analyst rates Facebook "buy" with a $36 price target.
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