Photo: Jakob Steinschaden
About a year and a half ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hand-picked a team of engineers, stuck them in a separate building, and put them in charge of designing and building a Facebook Phone, Liz Gannes and Ina Fried of All Things D report. Like an Apple iPhone or a RIM BlackBerry, this phone would have had its hardware and software designed end-to-end by a single company – Facebook.
The ambitious project died for two reasons:
- Cost. Gannes and Fried report: “the project quickly spiraled out of Facebook’s expertise and into budgets that were impossible without an IPO or perhaps a billion-dollar fundraising.”
- Jealousy and political in-fighting. ATD reports: “This was an exclusive and hand-picked group, which generated awkwardness within Facebook’s flat organisation. That’s because Facebook has historically only ever made one product — its social platform. To have a secret team operating out of a separate building drew a lot of interest and also jealousy from other employees, multiple sources said.”
These days, Facebook is working on a phone that will be built by HTC and run software based on Google’s mobile operating system, Android.