The Facebook Battles of 2012
While Facebook has grown to over 800 million users and counting, the war will continue to wage on in 2012 with many of the large technology companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon. Don’t be surprised if there never is a clear winner, because the market seems to at the moment be able to support the amount of large businesses grasping at the market share.
However, just like Google Chrome overtook Internet Explorer 8 (keep in mind that Internet Explorer dominated the browser market all through the 2000’s) at the end of November 2011, there is always a possibility for Facebook to grow even more popular and influential than the company already is. The 2012 battles include but are not limited to:
The Social Media Front
No surprise here. This is the oldest battleground of them all for Facebook. 2011 saw new players arrive on the scene however as Google decided to go social with their Google+ social media platform, and small (comparatively speaking) companies like Klout & Foursquare became increasingly popular with their new and unique approaches to social networking.
The Battle for Facebook will be the typical champion dilemma. When you (Facebook) are the one to beat, everybody will be taking a shot for the title. Facebook and their massive user base shouldn’t be too threatened (I’m sure Microsoft felt that way about a little company called Apple at one time) but they need to remember to stay trendy or a new champion may emerge.
The Mobile Front
This is the newest of battles against companies like Apple, Android, and Microsoft to develop mobile devices for the rapidly growing world of mobile internet users. Facebook has recently partnered with HTC to develop a Facebook phone, with the social networking software integrated into the core of the operating system. The phone is planned to run on a highly modified version of Android, as well as to support HTML5 as a platform for applications.
A Facebook phone is a great beginning, and hopefully Facebook will consider taking on the iPad with a tablet as well in the future.
The Consumer Front
The battle for consumer market share rages on against Amazon and Ebay with continuing expansion of the Facebook Credits form of virtual currency. People can already purchase Facebook Credits at brick-&-mortar locations as well as online, and use them to buy anything from facebook in-game upgrades, to movie downloads.
In an “Expand or die” type of consumer market, Facebook needs to expand outside of their Facebook bubble and take on Google, Amazon & Apple with an app store of their own. If they develop their own phone, then the opportunity will be there for the taking to do so. Right now, Facebook is only limited by their scope, as they have the client base to support anything if done right.
Facebook’s Biggest Adversary
To put it into one word: Google. Google’s massive understanding of the “expand or die” model is the talk of legend, and is what has made them the giant company they are today. Now, Google has set their sights (and their massive funding) on Social Networking.
The biggest challenge that Facebook will face in 2012 is the competition between Facebook and Google+. It seems for the last several months that anytime one of the 2 companies develops an enhancement to their social networking platform, the other creates and launches an extremely similar enhancement in return. The key to winning this battle is to develop an enhancement that can be patented, and not reproduced, if that is even possible.
Right now Facebook has the home field advantage, and the largest following base, but Google has the income, and the larger scope of integrated services that work well with Google+.
So, who will win? In the end, you the end-user, will decide.