Buried in Facebook’s filing for its much-ballyhooed initial public offering is the sort of contradiction that might sink a lesser company: The more that people use Facebook’s mobile offerings, the worse the company’s bottom line becomes.
That’s because Facebook’s mobile offerings don’t feature display ads. It’s a pretty big oops.
To be fair, Facebook can pat itself on the back for turning out a product that’s wildly popular with users. More than 425 million people were using Facebook mobile apps in December 2011. And management isn’t turning back. Looking to the future, Facebook says that it intends to continue to encourage mobile usage.
But then the unresolved riddle: Facebook doesn’t “directly generate any meaningful revenue” from mobile and the company frankly notes that its “ability to do so successfully is unproven.”
Take that one in for a moment. If the computing world continues to develop according to expectation and more people access the Internet on mobile devices, Facebook will be a victim of its own success because the growing popularity of its mobile app will eat into the bottom line.