Sunday, September 19, 2010

Microsoft Kin, Google Nexus One, and Facebook Phone?

I don't think I've ever witnessed story with such a velocity. Breaking news in the morning, rumor control effort by afternoon, and unofficial declaration from blogosphere confirming the morning leak by evening. Yes, it's only possible with Twitter, your 21st century breaking news channel.

First Alleged Photo of Facebook Phone
per Sean Percival
This morning (to be accurate to the dots, it was shortly after midnight) TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington broke the news based on a internal leak from Facebook: Facebook was building a phone. He had a couple of high-level Facebook employees who might be secretly working on Facebook project as supporting evidence. This news spread like a wild fire on quiet Sunday morning, and I had this retweeted back to me half way around the globe when I got up this morning.

By noon, Facebook comes out to rumor control. Facebook spokesperson Jaime Schopflin sends a quick response out to Mashable saying "the story which originated in TechCrunch is not accurate." She went on to say "Facebook is not building a phone... building phones is just not what we do." By mid afternoon at least, it seemed like a quick response from Facebook has calmed my Twitter feed except one from Michael.

But let's remember TechCrunch has good records in breaking mobile phone news, just recall Google Nexus One prediction by TechCrunch. Michael came out swinging back at Facebook with a couple of responses of his own. It seemed like it will take a few sworn deposition to settle this case in court. Hey, but that's so 2000's. We are living in 2010's.

By evening, there was a tie breaker: cnet ran a story supporting Michael's early morning Facebook Phone story. Scott Ard from cnet independently confirmed Michael's story. Facebook was indeed building a phone according to his source.

Wow. A couple of take away from all these:

1. To Facebook PR team: Before you put PR team to spin and damage control, first order of business is to assess the potential loss. It is embarrassing to see the leak out in public, but it's more embarrassing to deny it just to be proven otherwise. Milk is already spilled on the table. Don't tell us there is no milk carton. Put the cap back on, and move on.

2. To Facebook Product team: Remember the lessons of Microsoft Kin and Google Nexus One. Launching a mobile phone would have nice upsides: getting into user's address book, call logs, and locations. But these upsides will only be realized if Facebook phone is gained acceptance in general public. There has to be a compelling reason for consumers to adopt, and price alone might not be enough to make the niche. Without consumer adoption, carriers might not be so kind to you (think of Google Nexus One).

3. To Mashable: Please read what you wrote before publishing. You don't want to be known as parrot that utters words without parsing the words.

4. To TechCrunch and cnet: Job well done. It's nice to see people sticking to their guns when they are under fire. Continue reporting stories as you see them!

5. Lastly to Non-Twitter users: Be on Twitter. If you want late breaking news, you don't know what you will be missing.

What a Sunday it was to kick off a new week!


  1. Read Write Web has 5 potential reception of Facebook Phone: I think Facebook should focus on making social network better, and making it easy for enterprises to adopt social network instead of launching Facebook phone.

  2. A very good post ,I like it very much ,hope you will give another post asap Great info Thanks!