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Facebook Blesses Android, Damns Apple

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In the end, Facebook (FB - Get Report)'s "phone" announcement has little impact on Facebook itself. The key takeaway is that Facebook just made the greatest endorsement of Android imaginable, while basically relegating Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report) to second-class citizens.

Facebook's huge endorsement of Android is a symptom of a larger industry trend, with Android's relative openness winning over Apple's more restrictive iOS. This is the kind of trend that is not swiftly or easily reversible.

Let's go through the impact of Facebook's announcement, company by company:

Google: The Facebook announcement was nothing short of a big Android advertisement. HTC is launching a dedicated Android phone that is optimized for Facebook, and a "lighter" version of this Facebook software implementation will be available for a couple of other Samsung and HTC Android phones as well.

The Facebook software does not subtract much -- if anything -- from Google's value on the Android platform, while diverting users from Apple, Microsoft and BlackBerry. What more could Google (GOOG - Get Report) have asked for? Essentially nothing. One almost thinks Google has incriminating pictures of Mark Zuckerberg, given how he buttered up to his corporate neighbors located a few short miles down the street.

Apple: Apple usually hosts an event mid-late March quarter to announce a new iPad, or at least a preview of a new software version for the iPhone. Well, not this year. Something has gone astray in Cupertino. iOS 7 is running late. This is in turn delaying what will surely eventually be new iPads and iPhones launching later in the year.

The problem for Apple is that they needed the new products in March -- and in June -- not in September or October. There is some fear that Apple's March sales could be weak, given the lack of new product, and even worse in June. Perhaps September may even be in doubt, if iOS 7 and associated devices are running late and things are not on store shelves until October. Pain!

Poor Apple.

And here comes Mark Zuckerberg, pouring salt into Apple's open wound. He all but peed on Apple. Basically, reading between the lines, Zuckerberg said that Apple's platform in its current state is simply not as friendly to Facebook -- and by extension to every other third-party app provider either.
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