Facebook, Samsung meet to explore mobile partnership possibilities
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg met Tuesday with Samsung Electronics President J.K. Shin to explore potential mobile partnership opportunities, Bloomberg reports.
Zuckerberg and Shin also discussed the state of the information technology industry, Shin told reporters outside of Samsung's Seoul, South Korea offices. Zuckerberg left the building without answering questions, and a Facebook representative told Bloomberg the social network has no comment on Zuckerberg's trip overseas.
Facebook and Samsung have previously teamed in a limited capacity on Facebook Home, the much-maligned alternative Android homescreen that pushes Facebook's mobile services to the forefront of the user interface. Facebook has limited Home support to a handful of devices including Samsung's Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, as well as products from HTC and Sony. Facebook Home is also preloaded on the HTC First, available from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T)--sales of the First have been poor, however, and while telecommunications providers EE and Orange planned to release the phone to U.K. subscribers this summer, Facebook is halting those plans for the time being.
Following an onslaught of negative user reviews, Facebook has pledged to overhaul Home, recently adding a new tray for favorite non-Facebook apps, a move to assuage criticisms that Home is too rigid and makes it too difficult to access other mobile features and functions. Partnering with Samsung, the world's largest Android device manufacturer, could help Facebook expand Home to more smartphones and more tightly integrate the launcher into the mobile user experience.
The Zuckerberg/Shin meeting also appears likely to rekindle rumors that Facebook is working on a branded smartphone, despite Zuckerberg's persistent denials that such a project is in the company's plans. "We don't want to build a phone or operating system that only some people will be able to use," Zuckerberg said in April during the Home launch event. "We want to build the best experience for every person on every phone."
Facebook's total mobile monthly active users eclipsed desktop users earlier this year and reached 751 million in the first quarter of 2013, a year-over-year increase off 54 percent. Its mobile-only MAUs also increased to 189 million, up from 157 million in the previous quarter.
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