Facebook says that about half its users access Facebook via mobile device. Which is great! Except that Facebook doesn’t have any way to sell ads in its mobile offering, so all of those page views are served without any hope of revenue. But this may be about to change. This weekend, in the wake of Facebook’s lackluster IPO and a bunch of shareholder lawsuits, a rumor emerged that Facebook is thinking about acquiring Norwegian browser company Opera. If you don’t know what Opera is, you’re not alone. Opera accounts for less than two percent of the world’s browser market, however, it is one of the very few well-established browsers that can be acquired. On the plus side, acquiring Opera would give Facebook its own desktop and mobile browser and help the social network create a workable mobile advertising strategy. On the negative side, it puts Facebook into competition in a very crowded space and, the user experience would most certainly change.
Facebook has been all over the news, with last week’s lackluster IPO and this week’s lawsuits, but, if you remember, just a few weeks ago, Facebook spent a billion dollars buying Instagram, a very popular photo sharing site. Well, yesterday, Facebook launched its own camera app called, wait for it: Facebook Camera, that can only be described as Instagram-lite. Except – other than some fun filters, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Instagram at all. Available only for Apple iDevices, the company says Facebook Camera makes Facebook photos more fun and accessible. The app lets you crop photos and add colorful filters (just like Instagram). And you can also upload multiple pictures at once. Most of the reviewers I know like Facebook Camera and I do too. It’s much faster than using the regular Facebook app and I like the way Facebook Camera lets you share and display your pictures. What’s next? You mean after Facebook redesigns your profile page again?
As if having your stock tank wasn’t bad enough, Facebook and its banks are now facing lawsuits from disgruntled shareholders. The suit claims that Facebook hid weakened revenue growth forecasts from the general public while alerting a select group of investors ahead of its IPO. Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, said: “We believe the lawsuit is without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously.” Morgan Stanley had no comment about the lawsuit, but previously said that Facebook IPO procedures complied with all applicable regulations and were the same as in any initial offering. No matter how you look at it, this is not great news for Facebook or any other tech company looking to go public in the near future. NASDAQ already apologized for a series of technical glitches that had a negative impact on Facebook’s IPO, this lawsuit – one of many that are being filed – just adds insult to injury. What’s next for Facebook? Redesigning profile pages of course.
While it’s true that Verizon Wireless is going to force customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans into new, capped data plans. If you happened to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, there’s a loophole … you can pay full price for your next mobile device and keep your plan. Yes, you heard me right. If you want to pay $849 for your iPhone (as opposed to $399 with a two year contract) you can keep your unlimited data plan. When you first hear this, you may balk at the idea, but – if you’re a heavy user, the unlimited data plan may be worth much more to you than the difference in the cost of the mobile device. After all, there are lots of places to get discounted smartphones and tablets, but there is only one Verizon Wireless and, in the world of big data and big streaming, unlimited data is an almost priceless asset.
You know technology is way ahead of the law. But yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, says it’s way, way ahead. 18 months after Karen Capato’s husband Robert passed away from cancer, she gave birth to his biological twins through artificial insemination. A blessing, to be sure, but – the Supreme Court ruled that the twins can not get Social Security survivor benefits because Mr. Capato was not alive when they were conceived. No one is denying that the twins are the biological offspring of Mr. Capato, just, that, because he was dead, even though his sperm was alive, the kids are on their own. Now there is legal precedent for this and the jurists probably have it right under the law, but the law better get ready for what’s coming. Would Mr. Capato’s clone, born after his death, be him? How about if he was frozen, instead of just his sperm, and then revived. It may sound like science fiction, but the technology is around the corner.
Did Facebook have a successful IPO last Friday? Absolutely. Facebook raised over $16 Billion dollars of public money to use to expand its business. Early investors who chose to cash out received an exceptional return on their investment. And that’s really what successful IPO’s are all about. Now, if you happened to be lead underwriter Morgan Stanley, or JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs, the other underwriting banks, Friday was not the best. In order to keep Facebook’s shares trading above the $38 initial price, the underwriters had to move into the market and buy shares. So, while 28 year old, Mark Zuckerberg joined the ranks of multi-billionaires, his bankers had a very bad day at the office – their fees reinvested in Facebook to prop up the stock price. What’s next? I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial advice, but don’t be surprised to see this stock go down before it goes up.
Facebook Inc. set its share price at $38 for today’s initial public offering. Should you get in line to buy it? No. And here’s why. A lot of smart people who invested in Facebook are selling now, in fact many early investors have increased the amount of shares they plan to sell. What do they know that you don’t? Plenty. Ask your financial advisor about Facebook’s price to earnings ratio. You will not like the answer. Then, there’s Mark Zuckerberg, who is about to become one of the richest people in the world. Even after the IPO, Zuck will still control the company. He doesn’t like advertising, and Facebook really doesn’t make money doing anything else. Of course, none of this information will stop the feeding frenzy. Facebook’s IPO is destined to be one of the most amazing, most talked about, most debated, most analyzed ever. If you’re really thinking about buying Facebook shares, please consult with a trusted professional financial advisor beforehand.
If you thought your grandfathered unlimited data plan on Verizon was safe, think again. During a speech at an investor conference, Verizon’s Chief Financial Officer said that Verizon’s 3G Unlimited Data plans are about to go extinct. What will replace them? Tiered data plans, of course. Although Verizon has not said anything about pricing, you can bet it’s going to be less bandwidth for more money. Verizon did say that it will be pushing its customers toward family data share plans on its 4G network, which will allow families to connects all of their devices to one plan. Of course, the plan will still be tiered. What does this really mean for consumers? Nothing good. What are your choices? Well, T-Mobile has an unlimited data plan that it slows down when you use it too much – which leaves Sprint as the only truly unlimited data plan available. Are you ready to move your data business to Sprint? OK Then.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. This is your indication that all electronic devices, including all mobile phones and pagers, be switched off. We will notify when the use of approved electronic devices is allowed. Please note that FAA regulations prohibit the use of cellular phones at anytime during this flight. Love it or hate, it’s the rule. But now, Virgin Atlantic Airlines thinks they have a better way. On select Virgin Atlantic flights between London and New York, passengers will be able to use their cellphones through a special satellite connection. For now, it will only work with T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 cell phones, but if the service becomes popular, you can bet it will be rolled out on other Virgin Atlantic planes and routes. You’ll still have to turn off your phone once you enter US airspace, but at least you can txt your friends and tell them you’ll be landing on-time.
Here’s my favorite mac rumor of the day. 9to5mac.com says that Apple is getting ready to release a new 15″ MacBook Pro that will be almost as thin as it’s 13″ MacBook Air and even more powerful. New features will include a retina display, like the stunning screens on the new iPad, and USB 3.0 for very fast device to computer connectivity. Of course, it’s just a rumor, but 9to5mac.com says look for the new MacBook this summer. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is also preparing its first major upgrade to its iCloud service. Soon you will be able to share photos with others, as opposed to just between your own Apple iDevices – and, sync your personal videos as well. Sources say that all of this may be part of Apple’s next mobile operating system iOS 6, and could be announced as early as June. Which is great because starting July 1, everyone’s going to forced to be on iCloud.