5 Things Facebook Could Be Set to Announce at Mystery Media Event

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Next week -- on Jan. 15 at 10:00 a.m. in Menlo Park, California -- Facebook (FB) will hold a press event. The company sent out invitations this morning.

Top two thoughts that come to mind.

First, via email from Doug Kass: Is Facebook the next Apple ( AAPL)?

Second, via the masses who might be right, but even that doesn't excuse them from not having an original thought: Will Mark Zuckerberg introduce a Facebook smartphone?

I love Kass. I love Zuckerberg. I really like Facebook. But Zuckerberg, as great as he is, is not Steve Jobs. He's not even Jeff Bezos or Howard Schultz yet. And Facebook is not Apple. Probably never will be, even if Apple never returns to its between iPhone and iPad glory days.

As Zuckerberg says, Facebook started as an idea -- a social mission, not a company. It's fascinating really -- the guy changes the world (within the appropriate context) and essentially falls, pardon my backyard French, ass backwards into a multi-billion dollar company.

Neither Facebook nor Zuckerberg has the street cred to create the aura of anticipation that precedes an Apple event, even now with Tim Cook clicking through the slides.

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. There's no point to enter that market.

Nobody will buy a Facebook phone because a bunch of really good ones already exist, particularly Apple's iPhone. That Facebook app probably owns first-page space on every smartphone in America. Even if it partners with a major hardware maker, there's no incentive for Facebook to do this because there's no incentive to buy a Facebook-branded smartphone. Zuckerberg operates a very different ecosystem than the one Bezos runs at Amazon.com ( AMZN). 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.

So what will Zuck announce?

The Longshot: A partnership with Twitter. Obviously, not going to happen. I doubt Twitter would be willing to give Facebook all of the thunder on something of the sort. Plus, to reiterate, it's just not going to happen, even though it should. I explain why here.

A Major Acquisition: Maybe, but, although I could have missed it, I didn't see much pomp and circumstance, when Facebook swallowed Instagram for $1 billion. M&A would have to be huge. Like we're buying Research in Motion ( RIMM) or something. Not going to happen. Zuckerberg didn't get this far by being an idiot.

Tame, but Huge: It's going to come down to one of two things (or both).

First, I bet Facebook makes something "more social." Music comes to mind. It hasn't quite cracked the code on how to integrate music -- and sharing of music -- into the platform. If I'm Pandora ( P), I'm paying attention next week. Even if I'm Spotify, who has a poorly publicized partnership with Facebook, I keep my eyes open.

Ask Mark Pincus at Zynga ( ZNGA) how Zuckerberg can ruin a partner relationship.

Along similar lines, there could be a deal in the works with Netflix ( NFLX). Netflix just got some major legislation through Congress that allows free and open sharing of the movies you watch via social networks.

Makes perfect sense to hook up with Facebook on something big. And it would be smart for Reed Hastings to let Mark Zuckerberg steal the thunder on this one.

Second, there could be some seemingly low-level, but very meaningful M&A attached to mobile and mobile advertising. With or without an acquisition of, say, a Millennnial Media ( MM), expect Facebook to announce breakthroughs really soon -- even if not at this event -- on issues such as more precise targeting for advertisers, particularly via mobile platforms.

As usual, nobody really knows what's going to happen except for the flies on the wall in Menlo Park and the dandruff in Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie; however, the knee-jerk reactions most often prove wrong.

--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.

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