Report: Facebook Credits expanding to the mobile web
Facebook is reportedly in talks to extend its Credits virtual currency solution to the mobile web, lending additional credence to rumors the social networking giant is developing an HTML5-based mobile platform optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad but designed to circumvent the App Store distribution channel, giving Facebook far greater control over the user experience as well as a larger share of revenues.
Citing three sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Facebook is in discussions to enable developer partners to sell virtual goods within the mobile browser, generating 30 percent of revenues generated across the platform. The move is one facet of a larger strategy shift designed to boost Facebook's mobile fortunes--its existing applications for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices consistently rank among the most popular apps on each operating system, but generate no revenues for the company. Facebook declined to comment on its plans.
In mid-June, TechCrunch reported Facebook is hard at work on an HTML5 solution that will initially target Apple's mobile Safari browser but expand to other operating systems over time. Known internally as Project Spartan, the mobile web solution will include a drop-down menu featuring various Facebook and partner applications--clicking an app loads it from the appropriate server, complete with a Facebook wrapper that integrates key social media functions. Sources add more than 80 outside developers are teaming with Facebook on the project.
Facebook poses a legitimate threat to Apple's mobile dominance: The site now boasts almost 700 million users worldwide, with more than 250 million consumers actively using Facebook's mobile products across all platforms, up from only 65 million a year ago. According to Nielsen Company data published last year, Facebook is also the most popular app on iOS, with 50 percent of users accessing the app within the last 30 days.
- read this Bloomberg article
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