Sunday, February 15, 2009

The fuzz about Nokia and Facebook

Did you happen to notice that last week many newspapers and sites reported that Nokia and Facebook are discussing about partnership? For example, here is a link to WSJ's article. So far I haven't noticed that anybody had asked the silly question - what's there to negotiate? Facebook's triumph began when they opened the programming interface for third parties to create applications and a couple fo weeks ago they even improved the status API. Using that API with Nokia's smartphone platforms is no magic. So, no reason to talk for months, but as Bill Clinton put it:
It's the economy, stupid!
My claim is that nobody has made the Nokia/Facebook application yet, because - as so often - the business model is missing. Even though there seems to be a "I want a Facebook Application for my Nokia and I want it now!" group, it is hard for developers to see where the business could profitably be. Nokia has tried to ease the user's pain with a simple Facebook application available from the Download-client, but that application is just capable of launching the browser to the Facebook's mobile page.

Good mobile Facebook application is something that users want now and developers could do now, but companies are busy negotiating the terms. The missing link in this picture is not the contract between the companies but an online application store that puts the business in it's place. I won't dive into comparing the Nokia's Download client with the Apple AppStore, but S60 ecosystem just isn't working without a much better way to sell applications. 

Tomorrow Mobile World Congress opens, I hope we will hear what Nokia will do with this problem.


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