How The Original Facebook Phone Failed

How The Original Facebook Phone Failed

Facebook is working on a phone! But Facebook has been working on a phone. What’s new? Well, it’s a completely different project because their first top secret effort crashed and burned. It’s a sordid history of employee jealousy, secret plans, power struggles and just plain failure.

AllThingsD is reporting that about a year and a half ago, Facebook created a handpicked and exclusive “Facebook mobile special ops team” that would secretly work on everything about the Facebook phone — industrial design, carrier relations, integrated hardware and software. This team worked away from the GenPop of the rest of Facebook in a separate building.

This special team was tasked to best the iPhone but things quickly spiralled out of control. Since this was the first time Facebook was making a completely new product, they ran into some fairly predictable struggles like having their non-IPO budget limit the ambitiousness and having things become a fight for power and having employees jealous that they weren’t on the Facebook phone team and so much more. Basically, like any other big box company, the Facebook phone project got too big and political and different from what it was supposed to be. AllThingsD said:

With its horizon more limited, those involved — many of them longtime Facebook employees — lost faith amid power struggles and a growing concern that they wouldn’t have the leeway to create something that could truly compete with Apple’s iPhone.

It seems like the original Facebook phone project exposed and depressed the company. Facebook was acting like the little boy who wanted a seat at the big boy table even though his legs didn’t reach the floor. This time, maybe Facebook will get over the brouhaha and make something worth using. [All Things D]