Facebook Buys Israeli Startup Snaptu, Looks to Open Offices in Israel
The big news yesterday in the social networking arena was theÂ acquisitionÂ of Israeli startup, Snaptu by Facebook. Why is this big news? For starters, this is the first Israeli company that Facebook bought, but more importantly, this deal signifies the world dominance Facebook is aiming to achieve.
Facebook already positioned itself as the Web's leading social network and one of, if not the, top site on the Web based on visits. It has also become a leading name in the mobile space with cross-platform apps for all smartphone platforms (still waiting for the iPad app). However, if Facebook really wants to become accessible to everyone, the company has to account for what is still the majority of mobile Â devices in the world, feature phones.
While Android and iPhone make a lot of noise, companies like Nokia and Samsung still sell non smartphones in emerging markets by the millions. This Facebook Snaptu deal, which will bring Facebook to over 2,500 devices including almost all Web-enabled feature phones, is a clear step in the direction of reaching those millions of consumers.
The reports across the Web speak of a $60-$80 million price tag, but more important than the amount is the significance of this purchase and what it means about Facebook's future strategy.
On another (yet related) note, Newsgeek, a leading Israeli tech blog, reports that based on their sources, Facebook is looking to form a presence in Israel. According to this post (originally in Hebrew, but translated with Google Translate), Facebook already has an office in the tech-saturated area of Hertziliya Pituach, and the company is expected to expand its representatives in Israel from three employees to thirty by year end.
The role that Snaptu will play in this new development is yet to be seen, but it looks like Mark Zuckerberg has been doing some reading of the famous book, Startup Nation.
At inneractive, both these developments have extra significance for us. The fact that Facebook recognizes the importance of feature phones, something we recognized ages ago, just confirms for us once again, that our statistics about the mobile space are spot on. The other news about Facebook building an Israeli presence, well we always appreciate when the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit is recognized.
What do you think is the significnace of the Snaptu acquisition and the fact that Facebook seems to be interested in Israel as a prime location to expand its business? Let us know in the comments or you can reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook, where we are always listening.