FaceBook Gets Friendly with BlackBerry

Ann All

Though folks are buzzing about Microsoft's decision to pony up $240 million for a minority ownership stake in Facebook, we were also quite interested in the news that Facebook isintegrating its Web application with Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphones.

 

At first blush, BlackBerry's core user base of business execs doesn't seem to match up well with Facebook, home of the vibrating hamster and countless other nonsensical applications that even a college newspaper (Western Illinois University) terms "annoying."

 

Then again, it's a pretty logical fit for the Curve, a consumer-oriented smartphone complete with camera that RIM introduced earlier this year. Indeed, the example offered by a CNET blogger on how one might use Facebook on a BlackBerry involves uploading photos directly to a Facebook page for all to see rather than e-mailing them to friends.

 

OK, but not that many business types are exhibitionists, right? Think again.

 

There is a practical side to the deal as well, as duly noted by CNET's blogger. She points out that because it's often a pain to access favorite desktop apps from a smartphone, it's logical that Facebook will work with device makers in the name of more direct integration and ease-of-use. After all, Steve Jobs and pretty much everyone else knows that your next PC just may be a smartphone.


 

And of course, folks increasingly expect to conduct personal business on work-issued devices and vice versa, a trend that is giving security-minded corporate IT departments pause and prompting some observers to suggest that employees should be encouraged to provide their own smartphones and other work devices.

 

The RIM deal also makes sense in light of Facebook's apparent desire to become more business-friendly. To that end, it recently announced it would allow users to segregate their professional contacts from their purely social ones.

 

The CNET blog mentions that Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz told attendees of the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show that more than half of the site's nearly 50 million registered users are not in high school or college. While they may not all be business folks, it's a safe bet that many of them are.



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