Facebook is not only the world’s second most visited website, but it is an extraordinary concept. It has seen amazing growth in eight years, and has provided a social and cultural shift for millions around the world. Think about the hundreds of millions who log in to Facebook every day (or several times per day) to keep in contact with their own social, personal, and professional networks. As many consider whether the stock is a BUY at the initial public offering, Facebook’s upcoming May 2012 IPO is also a time for us to look at some of these big picture considerations, and check out some recent Facebook IPO news flow items.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
The role that social media has played in connecting our lives together in high-level way is really quite remarkable. Facebook (ticker symbol: FB), with the network of your friends, family, and co-workers, is probably responsible for pulling more and more users online in recent years, and has gone beyond just simple updates and online photo albums. As more users around the globe gain internet access, it should become even more of a global platform.
Witness the incredible role that Facebook (and Twitter, and Google) played in helping protest organizers in global events like “Arab Spring” (in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere) and “Occupy Wall Street”. The idea that there can be ‘revolutions’, uprising, and social movements driven by this technology shows how completely central it has become to our lives. It’s a platform for communication, collaboration, sharing, ideas, and the spread of information at the speed of the internet. This technology made democracy faster, powerful, and more nimble than certain regimes and dictators could deal with…
Where does Facebook go from here? With a billion users on the horizon, and possibilties to better monetize that huge audience both online at home and mobile — Facebook (and Twitter, LinkedIn, and others) have provided a consumer model for what may be a huge change for corporations, SMBs (small and medium businesses), and other organizations. This model for collaboration — with the update streams, the timeline, images, groups, and documents — used at work with a network of co-workers and clients is driving a huge new push toward Social Enterprise.
Imagine the possibilities of work communication being updated with social network models. No more useless email chains and threads with ten recipients and two actual conversations taking place! Social Enterprise could revolutionize corporate business efficiency, collaboration, retention, and more — and is another part of the push to cloud computing inititaives of companies like Salesforce.com (ticker symbol: CRM).
FACEBOOK HEADWINDS AND VALUATION
As you read Facebook’s S-1 filing, it’s fascinating to understand that right now Facebook’s biggest competitors are Google (ticker symbol: GOOG), Microsoft (ticker symbol: MSFT), and Twitter. Since Google has integrated their +1 with a number of their other offerings, that might just continue to be a major corporate headwind.
FACEBOOK IPO UPDATES
Other interesting recent updates to the Facebook IPO news flow have included:
- Facebook bought a number of patents (about 750) from International Business Machines (ticker symbol: IBM) to protect itself from the recently-filed Yahoo (ticker: YHOO) lawsuit, which is claiming infringements. (Patents are a huge battle ground in tech right now — look at the recent activity with Motorola Mobility (MMI), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), InterDigital (IDCC), and others…)
- Facebook has updated it’s S-1 filing to represent the Yahoo lawsuit. (At least, they’re better prepared… still think they should just buy YAHOO!)
- Facebook co-founder CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take a backseat role in the IPO “roadshow” to entice investors to buy. (Why? He likely knows the demand is already there, and the IPO will take care of itself… Plus he still probably really doesn’t want to go public!)
- The private market sales of Facebook shares will terminate soon in preparation for the initial public offering. (Some of those people will be very happy when they can sell!! Watch out for Facebook shares turning over..)
- Facebook has admitted that about 5% of its worldwide users are fake. (Why? Facebook seeded “likes”, “traffic”, friends, and activity are commodities that are being sold to those who want to get buzz started with their online presence. Web entrepreneurs control more than one account to be able to provide a client a number of Facebook “likes” in a defined amount of time…)
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