Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Samsung President Shin Jong Kyun this week to discuss how the two companies might work together to help Facebook reap more revenue from advertising sales targeted at mobile devices, according to Bloomberg. Kyun and Zuckerberg talked about possible partnerships between the two companies at a meeting at Samsung’s Seoul headquarters, which is especially noteworthy given that FB had a recent, very public joint product launch misfire with another handset manufacturer, HTC.
Neither Facebook nor Zuckerberg provided any comment on the purpose of the meetings, according to Bloomberg, but Samsung is already a limited partner of Facebook, presumably, given that Facebook Home supported some Samsung devices at launch, while ignoring handsets like the Nexus 4, which arguably provides the most generic, and most easily modified Android experience. Facebook Home is a launcher that sits on top of Android, and takes over the experience, essentially turning your phone into a Facebook-first device.
Facebook Home is still struggling in the downloads department, with total installs dropping off pretty steadily over the past 30 days. And the HTC First, the first and only smartphone to ship with Home pre-installed, can’t be doing well. Rumors that it would be discontinued by exclusive carrier partner AT&T so far haven’t come true, but European launches have been cancelled, indicating the First isn’t long for this world.
When the First and Home were announced, it seemed likely other OEMs would introduce handsets with Home pre-installed, but now that doesn’t seem nearly as realistic a possibility. Samsung are the big guns, however, so if Facebook is looking for one more kick at the can with Home, Zuckerberg meeting with Samsung to make the ask makes perfect sense. Of course, it’s equally possible that the social network wants to throw Home on the scrap heap and go back to the drawing board with a new partner, which is the far more interesting possibility here. Could we finally see a true Facebook Phone, for instance, with Samsung as a mostly behind the scenes partner? Possible, but hard to know where Zuck’s head at is given previous reversals stemming from flirtations with hardware.