Facebook will give app developers $30,000-worth of free services and support to anyone who wants to build an app.
The initiative was announced at Facebook’s F8 conference for developers.
Facebook is making a huge push to take over the mobile app business from the ground up. Facebook owns a company called Parse, which provides back-end services for app developers. Any company can use some or all of Parse’s services and tools, which are stored in the cloud — so companies don’t need to run their own servers to maintain their apps. They can just let Facebook and Parse do it.
A majority of Facebook’s users now access the social network on mobile devices. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told F8 today that he basically sees mobile apps as the future of Facebook’s business. (That’s also why he’s splitting off pieces of Facebook into separate apps, like Messenger for messages; and why he acquired Instagram and WhatsApp.)
In fact, Facebook has driven 350 million mobile app “installs” (or downloads) thus far.
The cost of creating an app has been falling for years. Back in the day, it would take millions of dollars in development costs and programmer salaries to create huge new apps. But today, a couple of college kids living in their parents’ house can make the most popular apps on the planet in just a few weeks for a few thousand dollars. That’s exactly what happened at Snapchat — CEO Evan Spiegel and his team created the messaging app at his father’s house on a summer break from college.
So $US30,000 of free app creation and distribution services could — in theory — seed a wave of new app development, all using Facebook’s platforms. The program positions Facebook as app developers’ greatest friend. They have to qualify, of course, but the program is open to all developers regardless of which platform they’re creating on (i.e., Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android).
The $30,000 “FbStart” offer includes the following:
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