Facebook, Samsung Partnership? Execs Mull Social Network-Friendly Phone

Thursday, 20 Jun 2013 11:47 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met Samsung Electronics executives in South Korea this week in an attempt to partner for a "Facebook-friendly phone" that would help increase the social network's mobile advertising sales.

"Facebook has every intention of becoming the second Google, and with that intent in mind, Zuckerberg is said to have asked Samsung to step up cooperation by launching a phone with a Facebook interface," a South Korean tech industry insider told The Korea Herald.

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However, Samsung co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun is rumored to have said no to Zuckerberg's proposal.

"Samsung doesn’t want to help nurture a second Google, which is now becoming a formidable rival for Samsung in the handset business," the source said.

In April, Facebook unveiled "Facebook Home," an operating system for Android-powered phones that allows users to access Facebook without logging into a separate app. It drew nearly 1 million downloads in its first month alone, but that number fell short of projections and reviews became increasingly negative.

"I tried it, and to be honest, it was just too much," one reviewer wrote.

"It was fine for a Facebook addict," another commented. "But [it] seems to run through a lot of data and battery. Uninstalled."

Facebook as a downloadable app, however, is as popular as ever, and Zuckerberg is reportedly seeking to expand his mobile partnerships with the possibility of marketing Facebook Home to other cell phone manufacturers. 

"[Facebook's] growth in mobile usage has been impressive, particularly considering that Facebook was very slow to market with a downloadable application," analyst Rick Summer wrote on Morningstar.com. "The company's mobile usage is skyrocketing, growing more than 54 percent annually to more than 750 million monthly users in the first quarter of 2013."

During his trip to Asia, Zuckerberg also met with South Korea President Park Geun Hye to discuss the leader's "Creative Economy" vision, which is an initiative to promote new businesses, industries, and jobs via technology and culture, a Facebook spokesperson said.

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