Monday, January 21, 2008

Nokia Buying Part of Facebook?

I read a headline earlier today about how Facebook was passing MySpace as the most popular social networking website. I can't say I read the actual story- I think it was on Drudge- but it makes sense to me. Most people I know use Facebook exclusively.

Now, I read on one of my favorite newsy websites, StrategyEye, that Nokia and Facebook might be developing a strong relationship.....Hmmmm.

Nokia is rumoured to be poised to take a stake in Facebook as part of a partnership between it and the mobile phone maker where the social network will be integrated into Nokia's handsets. A report on tech blog, PaidContent claims that the "the Facebook placement could be as prominent as the YouTube button on the main screen of iPhone." The site also cites "sources" who say the "early stage talks" involve the possibility of Nokia purchasing a stake in the company. Spokespersons from either side failed to comment, although a Nokia exec reportedly admits: "There is talk of a partnership in the works."

The rumours come a week after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on a US TV interview that the site was "highly unlikely" to go public in 2008. However, the firm reportedly took an undisclosed amount of funding last week, rumoured to be between USD10m and USD15m, from European Founders Fund, a firm owned by three German entrepreneurs, the Samwer Brothers. The investors are also said to have a stake in Facebook rival, LinkedIn. Various rumours surround Facebook and it was also recently linked with an acquisition of social community and online address book, Plaxo.

Nokia, which said it was to cut some 2,300 jobs last week as part of the closure of a German plant, has been making moves into the online space of late. Earlier this month it signed a deal with mobile games firm Vivendi. Last month, it said it is to offer mobile users unlimited access to music downloads from the second half of 2008, with a content deal with Universal Music. Meanwhile, it has also been expanding and making deals based on its newly launched Ovi mobile platform.
Interesting no? How many times have we seen the builders/owners of the "pipes" look enviously at the content developers/organizers and wonder how to get a piece of the action? Nokia is hardly a carrier, but it is very intriging that they are differentiating themselves by trying to associate themselves with a popular destination community- a la iPhone and YouTube.

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