Facebook Talking to Apple on New Version of ‘Home’ Software
Facebook Inc. (FB) is talking to Apple Inc. (AAPL) about crafting a version of its new mobile software for the iPhone, in a push to boost revenue from the growing number of users who access the social network on smaller screens.
After debuting the software, called Home, for Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system earlier this month, the operator of the world’s biggest social-networking service is speaking to Apple and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) about expanding to other platforms, Adam Mosseri, director of product at Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, said in an interview on Bloomberg West yesterday. The talks are in progress and nothing has been finalized, he said.
Now that the majority of users access Facebook via mobile devices, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is looking for ways to keep them engaged longer and coaxing more advertisers to pay to place promotions. While Google’s Android software powered about 70 percent of smartphones worldwide last year, Apple’s iOS system commanded about 21 percent, according to Gartner Inc.
“We’ve shown them what we’ve built and we’re just in an ongoing conversation,” Mosseri said, referring to discussions with Apple and Microsoft.
Jen Martin, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment. Bill Cox, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Facebook shares rose 1.5 percent to $26.92 at the close in New York, leaving the stock little changed this year.
Already, Facebook and Apple have a “great relationship,” Zuckerberg said when he introduced the Home software earlier this month.
“We are integrated into the operating system with them,” Zuckerberg said. “We have an active dialogue to do more with them.”
On iPhone devices, the Home software would be tailored to what Apple prefers, Mosseri said. It could look much different than the Android version.
“It may or may not be Home,” he said. “We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it’s not called Home, it’s called something else.”
The Home software is designed for newer Android handsets, including some made by Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) and HTC Corp. (2498) Home, which will have monthly updates, can be installed from Google Play, Google’s online app store.
While the program won’t initially have advertising, Zuckerberg said promotions will be included in future updates.
“There are no ads on this yet,” Zuckerberg said. “I’m sure at some point there will be.”
In a separate announcement on its website today, Facebook said it’s adding one of the features of Home to its stand-alone applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The company will enable so-called chat heads, which show pop-up photos of a user’s friends when they send a message.
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