The IPO is coming and Facebook is acquiring new companies in order to make the next giant step on mobile platforms. Since the last month the list of acquired companies, in the mobile market, has increased up to three companies: Instragram, Glancee and Lightbox. Mark Zuckerberg has changed his strategy to compete with the market.
At the beginning we saw the zenit of innovation and creativity thanks to the great work of Facebook’s developers, now the strategy has changed, it seems that the main focus is on “acquisitions”. Further with the giant liquidity that is going to come from the IPO, Facebook will be able to have more cash to buy more projects. In this month, Facebook acquired four companies (Tagtile is the fourth) and turned down two of them (Glancee and Lightbox); on the other hand, Instagram is still up. Another curious thing to analyze is that just the first acquisition, Instagram, is disclosed, they other companies have been acquired with an undisclosed agreement.
In order to figure out what Facebook is going to do with them we need to analyze them:
This has been the first acquisition of the past month. We covered it and thousands of bloggers talked about it, because it was one of the most expensive acquisitions ever made. With just 13 employees and two years of experience the company has been acquired by Facebook for 1B$. Yes, that is true, it still sounds crazy after more than a month, but nothing has changed. Kevin Systrom, the former CEO, is now working at Facebook on mobile platforms and on Instagram. In contrast with the other acquisitions, Facebook has not turned down Instagram; it was to cool to kill it.
After and year and half of hard work CEO and Founder, Andrea Vaccari, decided to launch Glancee, an italian startup, in March. The aim behind Glancee, a location based app, is to look for interesting people that you may know or would like to know near you. The app launched in march and got a lot of traction at SXSW, which made a few proposals come in. As the CEO reported, a few investors made offers and other companies such Google and Facebook were interested in the app. After meeting Peter Deng, director of product at Facebook, and then Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, Vaccari decided to sell the company. This acquisition brings in Facebook a lot of value and a great team which has been able to build something out of the scheme (meeting the ones you don’t know).
Facebook decided to buy the company, shut down the app and get the employees. Does it make sense? That’s up to Mr. Zuck.
The next recent Facebook’s step is LightBox. One of the biggest threat to Instagram. Lightbox was the Android’s answer to Instagram. The principle behind LightBox is close to what Instagram does. You can follow people and you can be followed. Likewise you can just take photos and share them with your followers and your social networks. Further you can like pictures and comment them. However, the interesting thing here is what Facebook did. Last month Facebook bought Instagram for 1B and now the same company has bought the number one threat to Instagram for an undisclosed deal. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Absolutely. From now on the Lightbox team joins the Instragram’s one in order to work on the best photo sharing experience ever.
The question is why?
Facebook needs a complete redefinition of the “word” mobile, which has not grown in the last years at the same speed rate of the web version. The apps are not quite good and they often miss the point. For this reason Facebook is trying to gain value in order to launch a new and redesigned product. They are getting that value by acquiring two companies that have done great things in the photo sharing market, Instagram and Lightbox. This underlines a strong desire to start playing hard on many platforms and building a decent and good business model on them. In fact Facebook still doesn’t make money on the apps; giving the fact that most of the users log into the site through these applications, it is now time to figure out a good way to run this sector.
With the upcoming IPO is time to send a straight signal to future and present investor about what the company thinks about mobile. It is not the time to give up, but the right time to figure out a good and innovative way to make money through the mobile versions and apps.
Now Facebook has the right people to succeed, Are they going to find a solution? That’s up to them. We can just wait and see how one of the most valued internet companies in tech history is going to behave.