Facebook has officially announced their initial public offering on the stock market with ticker symbol FB on the NASDAQ. The starting price will be $38 each of the 421,233,615 common shares, which makes their initial valuation $104 billion -- an awful lot considering they had $3.7 billion in revenue last year. This is the largest internet IPO ever, and the seventh biggest in the world, but what does it mean for Apple?
The first thing that that struck me when I heard about the Facebook IPO was, "Damn, I would really hate to miss the boat on that one and be like one of those guys kicking themselves later for not buying into Apple way back in the early days." Of course, there's plenty of conflict of interest in our spheres when it comes to stuff like that, so I steer clear, but it's something of a moot point considering major investment banks will have first crack at the stock and likely inflate the price well beyond $38 before individuals have a chance to snag some stock. There's also bound to be an inordinate amount of hype that is likely to level off in the first couple of weeks, but you never know -- it could just keep climbing and climbing.
The late Steve Jobs said he admired Mark Zuckerberg for not selling out, and that he thought Facebook was really the only social network worth talking about. Besides that, it's easy to see a lot of similarities between the two -- both experienced a huge amount of success in the technology industry at an early age, both practiced peculiar eating habits, and both dropped out of college (though retained a love of the arts). Zuckerberg's net worth blew past Steve Jobs' long ago; as of March last year, Jobs was worth $8.3 billion, while Zuckerberg was worth $13.5 billion.
Despite the similarities of their CEOs, Apple and Facebook aren't likely to be butting heads any time soon; despite persistent rumors to the contrary the closest thing Facebook has ever been to making a phone was having a branded hardware button on the HTC ChaCha. iTunes has Ping, which is a social network for sharing what music you're listening to, but that hasn't been particularly active in the year and a half since its inception. Interestingly enough, Facebook and Apple had a falling out over Ping integration awhile back, but that seems to be the most volatility we've seen between the companies to date.
That said, while it's unlikely that Facebook's IPO will directly be affecting Apple, the revenue Facebook generates could make the social networking giant even harder to ignore. The last version of iOS included fairly deep Twitter integration, and it would be hard to imagine iOS 6 being announced at WWDC without some significant and similar integration with Facebook. (Something that was rumored to have been attempted, then scrapped as far back as iOS 4.)
How do you guys see the trajectories of these tech giants crossing? Will they keep existing relatively peaceably in their own respective spheres? For a long time, Google and Apple got along well enough in their separate industries, but it didn't take long for them to start bumping into one another; how long until Facebook and Apple start doing the same?
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