The company is also coming off a poor showing of Facebook Home, the Android skin that would be all-Facebook, and would become standard on AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s new HTC First phone. Earning a paltry 2-star rating from the Google Play app market, it took a while to hit 1 million subscribers, which represents only 0.1% of active Facebook users. To Facebook’s credit though, it shows how valuable the brand is despite its financial follies, as AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was willing to create a whole new phone specifically to accommodate the new design. Unfortunately, this marriage of the two companies is headed south in a hurry, as the price of the First fell to just under $100 for a 2-year subscription plus the phone itself. There is even talk of a cancellation of the phone, as models like the HTC One are doing very well at the moment. According to the Los Angeles Times, the app will be updated and fixed over the next few months to make it easier to use, as well as to streamline the ability to use other apps on the phone. This may be a bit too late though, as many people are already turned off to the idea of having Facebook play a more prominent role in their lives, as well as being turned off by the initial negative vibe of the software.
It’s been a tough year for Facebook, and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that maybe Mr. Zuckerberg has overreached a bit with his IPO, and maybe even with how far users would be willing to go in terms of linking everything they have to the social network. Either way, it’s still a gamble for investors to get into Facebook. Given AT&T’s problems with the HTC First, it may call into question how good a business partner Facebook might be in terms of electronics development.
Taken together, this birthday was one of champagne and throwing $100-bills in the air, but a time for Facebook to take a step back and rethink their strategy going forward. Mr. Zuckerberg is capable of great things, so I think he knows what’s been lacking, but when that will translate into financial gains for the average investor is something that is unclear, and may be unclear for a while.
The article A Not-So-Happy Birthday for Facebook originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by John McKenna.
John is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
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