In a bid to further boost its portfolio and of course its presence, Facebook has announced the launch of its own app store, the App Center. The news follows a recent buying spree by the social networking site, beefing up its portfolio with the acquisition of photograph app Instagram and a host of patents from Microsoft. Of course, all of these acquisitions have been marked with an ear to Facebook’s impending IPO (Initial Public Offering).
The news of the App Center was announced today via a statement from the company and the service is intended to target smartphone and mobile phone users, as the App Center will act as an intermediary between developers and users, trying in ways to replicate the Android and Apple app stores, becoming, in Facebook’s own words, the "new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something."
The need to cash in on mobile phone users seems to have been a pressing concern for the company as in a statement it had released to investors it revealed that increasing mobile phone use had hurt its revenues, saying, "If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetisation strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.”
Facebook did not reveal when exactly it would be launching the App Center, but according to a representative of the company, Aaron Brady, who posted to the network’s developer blog, the launch would happen in the next couple of weeks, adding, “All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch. We are excited to give developers a new way to grow their apps with the App Center.” And it is very likely that developers will jump to the chance as Facebook offers a 900 million user base.
Reacting to the news, Saverio Romeo, an analyst for Frost & Sullivan, told the BBC, "I think the store is an important element - a community of developers is a fundamental element in the growth we have seen with Apple and Android.” Of course the move was seen as a chance to capitalize on mobile phone, but Romeo also added that the opportunity meant that apps could not function across platforms, meaning that they would no longer be restricted to iPhones or Androids.
"The type of applications that the Facebook community can develop can have an incredible open horizon. Facebook is ubiquitous - it does not have any preferential routes. The question is the monetisation of all this," said Romeo.