Facebook hits 1B mobile users, makes "long term bet" on augmented reality

Facebook hits 1B mobile users, makes “long term bet” on virtual reality

26 MAR 2014

Facebook now has more than one billion people accessing its services on mobile devices, with 20 per cent of time spent in mobile apps globally devoted to use of Facebook services.

Speaking during a conference call to discuss the acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said: “We’ve made a lot of progress in mobile. As of last week, there are now more than one billion people actively using our mobile apps alone.”

Zuckerberg also revealed that photo sharing app Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion two years ago, now has more than 200 million active users. It had just 20 million users when it was acquired.

Instagram was an “initial test case” according to the Facebook CEO, as the social network had no previous experience in acquiring a company and letting it operate independently.

“Our thesis when we agreed to acquire Instagram was that one day we thought it could reach 100 million people or more, and within the first two years of working with them, we’re already at 200 million,” he said.

Just last month, Facebook announced it had agreed to acquire mobile messaging app maker WhatsApp for $19 billion, as it looks to further bolster its mobile capabilities.

While Zuckerberg said there is still “a lot of work to do on mobile”, the $2 billion deal to acquire Oculus VR — which is developing a virtual reality platform and wearable device — will see the company “start focusing on building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile”.

“History suggests that there will be more platforms to come and that whoever builds and defines these will not only shape all of the experiences that our industry builds but also benefit financially and strategically,” he noted.

“Today’s acquisition is a long term bet on the future of computing. I believe Oculus can be one of the platforms of the future.”

Oculus and Facebook plan to initially focus on immersive gaming before using the platform for other experiences. “This is really a new social platform,” Zuckerberg added.

Facebook has offered $400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares to acquire Oculus, with an additional $300 million earn out to be paid in cash and stock of the acquired company achieves certain milestones. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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