This week social media giant Facebook set out a clear and direct challenge to their largest rival, Apple, in a bid to move onwards and upwards in the mobile internet market. The two companies have been circling each other for a number of years now, with both showing massive growth in their own separate specialist areas, but occasionally treading on each other’s toes.
Consequently the announcement by Facebook this week is big news. Facebook, the world’s most popular networking website is already viewed as somewhat of a kingmaker when it comes to up and coming apps by some technology analysts. And it seems they now want to remove Apple from the app-buying process by circumventing the Apple store and the fees that go with it. Facebook revealed their plans to make it much easier to purchase apps and to link purchases within the app itself, all of which is currently required to be routed either through Apple’s iTunes service or via Google’s own payment route, using the consumer’s mobile phone to pay the bill directly. As it is at the moment consumers are often required to stop and wait on the confirmation text message that makes sure the person who is operating the device will be the same person who is signed into the account.
The Chief Technology Officer of Facebook, Bret Taylor revealed to the Barcelona Mobile World Congress that Facebook had recently managed to sign up dozens and dozens of big names from the industry such as Nokia, Netflix, Samsung, Intel, Orange and Vodafone to take part in their new scheme.
Industry analysts noted the significance of Facebook attempting to grab hold of the mobile industry by the throat and trying to set a standard mobile system for web purchasing. CSS Insight’s Martin Garner pointed out that the aim of allowing content firms to design and create applications (web-based) that don’t have to pass via iTunes would move all that traffic away from Apple and would simultaneously be of great appeal to the developers who currently balk at paying over 30% of their revenue (from any purchases within the app) to the US computer giant.
Indeed it is universally agreed upon by the industry analysts that a move like this would most likely make Facebook a major navigator of the apps sector. Bret Taylor pointed out that Spotify, the much-loved online streaming music service has amazingly already added more than a million users since being integrated within Facebook. It has also been shown that people were nearly twice as likely to sign up to a paid subscription if they came to the service through Facebook.
James is a business blogger and writer, who writes about everything from business equipment to business technology and from contractor tax to umbrella companies.