Jun 20, 2013

    Zuckerberg in vain pursuit of FB phone

    FACEBOOK co-founder Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday met Samsung Electronics executives, including the heir, Mr Lee Jay Yong, and mobile-unit chief Shin Jong Kyun, to ask Samsung to manufacture a "Facebook-friendly" phone, industry watchers said.

    "Facebook has every intention of becoming the second Google, and with that intent in mind, Zuckerberg is said to have asked Samsung to step up cooperation by launching a phone with a Facebook interface," said one watcher, declining to be identified.

    But Samsung is unlikely to consider the request for a Facebook-platform phone in a positive light, industry experts said, as there is no symbolic or monetary significance in such a deal.

    "Samsung doesn't want to help nurture a second Google, which is now becoming a formidable rival for Samsung in the handset business," one of the watchers said.

    Google last year acquired Motorola Mobility and is expected to roll out the Moto X phone.

    Facebook also does not carry the kind of premium image that Samsung is seeking to carve out in the world, meaning that a "Facebook-friendly" phone would bring no real benefits for the Korean electronics giant.

    The meeting, which was one of the key points in Mr Zuckerberg's short itinerary in South Korea, therefore was likely to have come through after much cajoling from Facebook, industry observers said. However, Mr Zuckerberg did not meet Mr Koo Bon Joon, head of LG Electronics, another top maker of smartphones.

    Prior to his visit to the Samsung headquarters, Mr Zuckerberg met President Park Geun Hye, who has been stressing the importance of creating a creative economy based on a foundation of advanced and integrated information technology and communication.